Garlic Prep, the Goodfellas Way

The Celluloid Pantry

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Every family has its own way of prepping garlic. Some, proud of their knife skills, wouldn't be caught dead with a garlic press; others — the specialists — go for the high-end uni-taskers, swearing by the Zyliss Susi 2. In Goodfellas (1990), mobster Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) recalls his days in stir, where Paulie (Paul Sorvino) developed a method all his own: "He was in a year for contempt and he had this wonderful system for doing the garlic. He used a razor and he used to slice it so thin that it would liquefy in the pan with just a little oil. It was a very good system."

In the spirit of Mythbusters, we put the razor method to the test. Our findings were somewhat surprising.

Getting the slices thin was the easy part. But when it came to the sautéing, the garlic had a tendency to brown quickly (with no sign of liquefaction), even on low heat. We tried warming up the oil, then turning off the burner before adding the slices. No browning, but still no dice.

Maybe it's just a matter of practice only a year's confinement can perfect.

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The Celluloid Pantry is a classic column that ran on The Kitchn from 2006 through 2007 that revisited many iconic moments of food and drink in films. We're taking a trip back through some of our favorites this month, in anticipation of this year's crop of Oscars nominations. Enjoy!

Originally posted February 21, 2006

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