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Garlic and roses in Beijing

I’m taking a sybaritic approach to jetlag. Greeted by my dear friend Phil in Dongzhimen with tea and fruit, then off to favorite hutong for foot massage. Indeed the roses are blooming in Beijing, under the smoggy skies, but what I can’t get over tonight is just how much garlic I consumed at supper. I have eaten garlic with enthusiasm ever since I first tasted the real thing, after growing up in a household where seasoning consisted of onion salt and garlic salt. I’ve often told the story of the English friend who announced, as she began cooking a Sunday lunch for her flatmates and me, “The recipe calls for a “clove of garlic.” But don’t worry, I’ve opened the windows.” I realized tonight, however, that I cook with garlic like a Frenchwoman (or a liberated 21st-century Englishwoman) and not, generally, like someone Chinese. It’s garlic season back in the USA, so I may just have to try making something authentic when I get back to Massachusetts.

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