Maybe if you’re a vampire (in which case … wow), but to most people, this is a lovely fat head of garlic. Pretty purple stripes, even.
To me, this represents the culmination of a months-long, supreme struggle of the conscience.
Because this is imported garlic.
Because my own is not ready yet. Because there is no local or Australian grown fresh garlic in the shops that I can find. Because even the minced bottled processed stuff is largely made of imported garlic.
Because one of my kitchen resolutions is to buy local or Australian produce wherever possible.
But there is only so long one can go without real garlic. I’ve been using garlic-infused olive oil (made in Australia) and I did find a small bottle of processed stuff using Australian garlic — but it tasted ghastly, not garlicky, and was thrown in the bin.
So in the end, after weeks of to-ing and fro-ing, do-I-don’t-I, resisting, longing, prevaricating, I capitulated to my tastebuds and bought this head of garlic from the local fruit and veg shop.
It’s Mexican — I’m not entirely sure where this sits on the spectrum of imported produce; sometimes the garlic is from China, sometimes it is from Spain, and I must admit I don’t mind supporting Spanish growers as my friend F is Spanish and hey, the Spanish economy needs help too. But I’d rather buy Australian garlic.
And why can’t I? If one can buy all sorts of other fruit and veg out of season, grown in the warmer far reaches of Australia or in the artificial climes of industrial poly-tunnels, why isn’t garlic grown all year round?
Probably more importantly, why do I get caught up in these self-imposed ethical dilemmas? Do other people stand in the supermarket aisle and silently wail 'why can't I find Australian tinned cannellini beans?!' before sighing and reaching reluctantly for the only ones available, Italian ones? Do other people get so caught up in their food rules — and heck, we are not even talking about nutrition or diet choices yet — that they sometimes go without?
I haven’t used the garlic yet. I wonder if I’ll feel guilty eating Mexican garlic. Hopefully I’ll just think, mmmm, real garlic again.