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Mrs DeGreek and Garlic
Garlic. You love it or hate it and my wife loves it. It is a habit she acquired in her hay days as a university lecturer in law and as a practicing lawyer defending those you read about in your morning paper who have slaughtered thirteen.
Because she looks like a Goddess-in-Human-Shape and next to her, Claudia Schiffer looks plain; she had a lot of problems with colleagues and judges invading her personal space. During discussions on points of law, they would sidle up to her far too close for her personal comfort, so she thought that garlic was the answer.
Even though she is otherwise a kind and tender woman, she felt that for those who felt overly daring and amorous, the traditional legal phrase of “May God Have Mercy on Their Souls” was the only appropriate position to take.
She later told me that though she became addicted to the product in the end, she stopped using it from the very first day we met when I walked into her office as a client, as that is the day she knew that I was going to marry her. How she knew this I have not yet understood but I put it down to female intuition.
It was a short romance. I had just received the official divorce documents from my first wife but had been enjoying the life of a bachelor for only a few months and I liked my new found freedom, so I had no intention of ever getting married again. The details are not quite clear in my mind, and even if you interrogated me under Guantanamo conditions I would be unable to clarify the point but the fact is that I found myself to be unexpectedly happily married again to the surprise not only of myself, but to that of my nearest and dearest.
Once we were married she began to introduce garlic into our lives in ways and means which at the time could only have been described as seditious, were I but able at that time to understand what was going on. All I knew at the time was that a strange odour began to permeate what undoubtedly was our loving home and I began to have words with the supervisor of the building about his drains.
For some reason my mother-in-law left her husband alone and came to live with us for the first month after the honeymoon. I later found out that because my wife does not cook it was thought wise not to advertise the fact at a delicate time of our life together and the mother-in-law came to do the cooking so that questions would not be raised in an untimely manner.
The well known celebrity cooks who infest our television screens on a daily basis could very well benefit by taking my mother-in-law’s correspondence course on cooking. She is a queen amongst cooks and had my father-in-law not been a slave to his stomach and had he been a more sporting and understanding man she would still be living with us today. But that is another story.
Suffice it to say that Mom can cook and not only does she cook, she loves her daughter to death and cooks according to her daughter’s wishes. By the time I realised that garlic is like a strong opiate, it was too late. All our dishes gradually became more and more soaked in garlic and I ended up with a feeling of distress whenever we ate out at restaurants which were not inducted into ranks of those who buy garlic at wholesale and take deliveries of the stuff in truck loads.
Eventually Mom realised that she was likely to loose her husband to any gust of strong wind, as he had lost what appeared to be half his body weight during the month Mom had stayed with us, and consequently she moved back into her own nest.
That was the time I found out that my wife does not cook. It is a matter of principle with her, but one she did not want to brag about before we were married.
As a successful lawyer, she did not feel that cooking was a necessary skill she should devote any serious time to and her brave efforts to satisfy my more traditional approach to the matter did not bear the fruit that she was hoping for. Especially when her efforts were compared to those of Queen Mom.
Many a tear was quietly shed during this period, but manly pride kept me from any public display of weakness. She on the other hand laughed it off with a gayety which I thought at the time inappropriate and disproportionate to the doubtful success of her cooking. That was the time that the animal survival instincts of the De Greeks kicked in and I realised that it was time to set aside the centuries old traditions of the De Greeks and to learn how to cook.
I now surf the Internet for imaginative recipes with garlic as its main ingredient and our home has reverted to its previous peaceful and loving state when Mom was living with us.
One has to remember though that, while “Awake Beloved!” is our morning call to each other on a daily basis, Longfellow did not write “The Song of Hiawatha” with my wife in mind. You will remember that it goes
" Awake, beloved!
Thou the wild-flower of the forest!
Sweet thy breath is as the fragrance
Of the wild-flowers in the morning,
As their fragrance is at evening......”
..... and so on. You know what I mean.
People tend to give us a wide berth when we are amongst the masses.
Whenever I invite people to our house that my wife is not particularly fond of, the dinner somehow ends up being more garlicky than my meticulous measurements would justify. If I did not know better, I would suspect that my wife is trying to help me in the kitchen by contributing to the general desire for a good dinner according to the best traditions binding one to being a good host.