Ode to garlic and friends

Disclaimer: No actual therapeutic effects whatsoever are implied from reading or acting out the contents in this post. 

Picture this: It is exactly 13 days since you have returned from random location #8375, and you are actually feeling fantastic.

All jetlag, no-sleep lag, hothered-and-itchy-lag, and shuddery memories of grimy bug-ridden “rustic” excuses for hotels are fading into a distant haze of feeling honoured and privileged and inspired and centred to have such an amazing travelling job.

Not really what travelling for work is like.


…. and then it hits…

Quickly and irresponsibly self-diagnosing via google scholar,  you realise with a sinking (gurgling) stomach that all the papers are still in your recent history list from last time. And that whilst an incubation time of 1 week is usual, this specific EVIL F#&%ER of a parasite can slow-cook for up to a good 35 days or so before striking…

Food therapy response #1: Rice, white plain, lots of it

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You still need to eat. Rice is something you can eat.

What? You don’t want to eat another day of rice? You have no choice. The alternative is to yet again dig into your crumpled stash of expired meds from the travel doctor and become personally responsible for creating tinidazole-resistant strains of superbug that will take over the world.

Eat rice and continue…

Food therapy response #2: Garlic

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Garlic is magic.

You may notice it’s harder to find real garlic these days (picture left), whilst the elephant stuff is widely available (picture right).

Elephant garlic has a sweet flavour and being large is easy to use, but it really lacks the true garlicky oomph of high quality Allium sativum. The kind of oomph that leaves your skin glistening with a thin sheen of garlicky sweat/glow, hmmm mmm.

So, for nuking purposes, source some of the real stuff [1].

Chop and stir raw through hot rice. Or, make some garlic bread – raw garlic and butter on toast.

Bowl sourced from potter selling to tourists at Salamanca Market, Hobart. Chopping board sourced from Byron Bay Chopping Board seller at Marrickville Markets, Sydney.

You won’t be doing much fat or dairy at the moment. But butter has next to no lactose. And the good bugs (as distinct from: evil bugs) in cultured butter will have smacked most of what little lactose there is into acid, so go for the absolute best.

This stuff is exceptionally good, and I recommend eating it by the slab:

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Food therapy response #3: Miso

Why buy a $14 bottle of kraut that cost 43c of cabbage and vinegar to make? That’s a 3000% margin for the hipsters.

For fermented goodness, eat miso instead. Here is a version you might eat a bit further along your recovery journey.

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Food therapy response #4: Watermelon

The moral of the story is to contract parasitic gut infections during your local summer season, when watermelons are at their best. Which is not now.

Apparently the rind is meant to be where the good stuff is [2].

Admission: kraut

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OK, so I bought it, all $14 of it, and it was pretty good, in fact very good. I’ll have to go back and try the 75 other flavours each with a differently  fontaged and hued label.

Garlic rating (Ingelara garlic)

Jo: 5 stars

[1] doi:10.1016/j.pt.2005.08.004

[2] doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0045325


Wa Japanese Restaurant Cafe

Is it a restaurant? Is it a cafe? Or is ‘restaurant cafe’ a cultural translation issue? Who knows and who cares when Wa Japanese Restaurant Cafe cook soba noodle miso soup to perfection!

Wa’s a teeny little place in Bondi Junction with no more than 10 tables (most of which are reserved both weekend and week nights) and as of May 2016 is my favourite Japanese noodle place….

On first discovering Wa I rode my bike there one to two times a week for a month for the vegetarian (with fish stock) miso soup and Matcha tea soba noodles.

The flavours are subtle with saffron threads, roasted (black and white) sesame, ground chilli, finely shredded shallots and Dashi (who knows why the chef thought raw onion chunks were a good idea to throw into the mix today – actually that’s minus 1 star for lack of appreciation of delicate flavours)

You can ‘mix n match’: choose miso or soya bean base; spicy or mild; soba or udon; beef, chicken or vegetarian. I’ve only had vegetarian and while I don’t have an aversion to any particular vegetable, I’ve never understood why people eat baby carrots when the core is so hard and stringy. It’s probably the ‘cuteness’ factor that  fits well with Japanese aesthetics and cultural sensibility.  With plenty of baby carrots and cabbage (red & white) this is a sweet miso soup

Only 10 minutes walk from Centennial Park it’s a convenient place to pick up picnic food for lunch in the park (if you don’t mind plastic containers left in the aftermath…it’s an ethical trade off).

NOTE: If you like your savouries sweet, try the Deepfried Eggplant, not my favourite but from a reputable, sweet-toothed source, it’s the bomb

Dena: 4 stars (minus 1 star for the raw onions)