Vera, my Albanian hairdresser, hates garlic. She can’t stand the taste or the smell or anything about it. From the sounds of it, this is a solitary bone of contention between Vera and her husband. I ask her how it is possible to cook without it, and she reiterates her antipathy. I have no idea how we started talking about garlic. I overhear other conversations at the beauty shop and realize how ill equipped I am for normal salon chat. One woman is talking about her 71-year-old mother who has a boyfriend (all agree that boyfriend is an uncomfortable word here). At a grandchild’s bar mitzvah, the mother told one of her daughter’s friends that she had fallen in love twice in her life, once at 17 and again at 71, and that she planned to write a book about sex after 71. The daughter found this highly embarrassing. Both the lady getting her hair done and the hairdresser expressed squeamishness at the very concept of sex after 70. This seems to be a normal thing to talk about at the hairdressers. As opposed to garlic.
I am reading about a New Mexican garlic farmer.
In my garden there are twelve varieties of garlic growing. Holly brought us the seed cloves from the Garlic festival up north and we planted them last fall: Spanish Roja, Russian Redstreak, Romanian Red, German White, Bavarian Purple, Andalusian Purple, Carpathian Red, Piedmontese Red. (Truth? those names are fictitious. The real names do involve geographical regions and colors, the popsicle sticks on which I wrote the names last fall when I planted are now unreadable. But the gist is correct.) Now I have to learn when to harvest them.