The Garlic War by Annie Proulx

Édouard_Manet_-_Nature_morte_au_cabas_et_à_l'ail,“It is not really an exaggeration to say that peace and happiness begin, geographically, where garlic is used in cooking.” This is Marcel Boulestin’s claim. We’ll see about that – in this early story by Pulitzer-Prize winning author Annie Proulx.

Sometime back in the early ’30s my uncle Hubert finished his internship at one of the smaller hospitals in Poughkeepsie, New York, took a pretty young wife, Sophia, and set up practice in his mother-in-law’s rambling house on Garvin Street. His mother-in-law, whom everybody called Auntie Bella, was a formidable woman. She was, in the first place, large—not merely plump, not fat only, but tall, large-boned, and heavy-fleshed. She had a booming bass voice with which she sounded all her opinions to anyone who would listen. If no one would, she told her marvelous tales of the evil eye and of the time her cousin Giuseppe was robbed by bandits to the four cats who were constantly stalking in and out of the kitchen. The cats were swollen with pride and with tasty tidbits that Auntie Bella was always feeding them—a little dab of chicken cooked in a red sauce, for instance. “Here, cat … good, no?” And the cat would purr, gobble down the last shred, and stare greedily into the empty dish.

Continue reading ‘The Garlic War’ in Gourmet Magazine, 1964.

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