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Growing up, I had several Vietnamese and Chinese friends. When going over to any of their houses, I always encountered a strange smell that I had not known from anywhere else. Much like old folks homes have a particular smell and hospitals have a certain smell, I assumed this was Asian-house odor and never really mentioned or questioned it.

In my [late-]teenage years, I learned that “Asian-house smell” has a name and that name is “garlic.” I was no stranger to garlic as a kid, but all of the garlic my family used came in spice canisters: garlic salt, garlic powder, and the like. It would get tenderized into steaks that would be grilled on the barbecue. It would get added to margarine-covered bread to make “garlic bread.” I honestly had no idea what fresh roasted garlic smelled like until I was nearly an adult. It smells quite different than the dried, powdered form. It smells like Asian houses.

Posted in: Food

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