I love movies almost as much as I love garlic. Funny movies, crime dramas, foreign flicks, movies that make you think and dream, but mostly I love old movies. Black and white movies from the 30’s and 40’s and, with some partiality, those A-bomb cursing, sci-fi ones made in the 1950’s, where Harryhausen’s gargantuan monsters in stop-motion (the precursor to Avatar’s motion-capture) rip up a perfectly peaceful beach and send teenagers running in holy terror.
Along with those monsters, everything was bigger in the 50’s: big cars (nothing badder than a sleek and sexy 57 Caddie), big hair (why is the word bouffant not in my dictionary?!), and big food like mac ‘n cheese and hot roast beef sandwiches dripping with gravy. But, was that big food dripping with garlic? No, not likely. Who cooked with garlic in the 50’s?? My gramma did thanks to her Tuscan roots, but your basic menu at the diner downtown probably didn’t feature garlic-laden goodies.
Which brings me to one surprising moment on a recent rainy Saturday. While watching the 1955 classic, “It Came From Beneath The Sea”, I was startled to hear the word GARLIC! No, it didn’t come out of the mouth of the giant octopus that was soon to be manhandling and handling and handling, etc. (each arm got in a whack) the Golden Gate Bridge. It was uttered by the leading man in the quiet scene just before all hell broke loose. He was insolently trying to order dinner for the scientist heroine and sweetly whispered in her ear “how about a lobster smothered in garlic butter”. As her eyes lit up, mine did, too, as I realized that garlic was coveted even in the 50’s, and as the end neared and our heroes brought down that giant octopus, I couldn’t help but think that it was the garlic that gave them the strength to do it.
P. S. I’d also like to think the leading man ordered “octopus smothered in garlic butter” as the movie credits rolled by. I’d hate to see that big fish go to waste…