I love garlic, and I'm a big fan of Anthony Bourdain, but when I read that he called my beloved garlic press an abomination, my heart shattered into a million pieces. In his book Kitchen Confidential, Bourdain calls the misuse of garlic a crime. "Old garlic, burnt garlic, garlic cut too long ago, and garlic that has been tragically smashed through one of those abominations, the garlic press, are all disgusting," he says.
After reading this, first I felt embarrassment. Don't breathe a word to any of your foodie friends about this; it's your dirty little secret, I thought to myself. Then I felt shame. How could you ever have considered using such a dishonorable tool? But after my remorse for using this harmless gadget settled with me, I started to feel another wave of emotion: anger.
Buy: Cuisinart Garlic Press, $10 at Bed Bath & Beyond
I'm not a top chef, nor am I trying to become one. I'm just an average cook who enjoys making meals in the comfort of my own home. And if my $10 Cuisinart garlic press from Bed Bath & Beyond brings me happiness, well then who cares what Anthony Bourdain thinks? At the end of the day, it still tastes like garlic to me, even if it has been tragically smashed to unrecognizable pieces.
A Kitchn editor shares my sentiments: Why I Hid a Garlic Press from Alton Brown for 8 Years
For me, garlic ranks right up there with onions as one of my least favorite ingredients to handle, but as much as I hate how the smell lingers on my fingers for what seems like days, I'm not going to stop using it. (After all, it's one of the building blocks for any meal with flavor.)
My trusty little press yields smashed garlic in a fraction of the time it would take me to prep it by hand. And all I have to do is peel off the skin — no stinky fingers to deodorize (often a futile effort, anyway). Once you're finished, the press swings open so it's no hassle to clean out the leftover garlic bulb, and you can even throw the thing into your dishwasher for a thorough scrubbing.
Now, every time I pull my garlic press out of the drawer, I smile. Maybe it's cheating and maybe it's disrespecting one of the holiest cooking ingredients, but that's not my intention. If a silly garlic press makes me more inclined to cook, I'm okay with that and not too proud to say it.
What about you? Are for or against using a garlic press in the kitchen?