Why Bother?

I just finished watching Jacques Pepin1 make vinaigrette-in-a-jar for a salad. With garlic, of course.

While prepping the garlic, he mentions not using a garlic press. Reason being, he says, is because in the time it would take him to put the garlic in the little hole, squeeze, and then clean the thing, he could just as efficently use his chef's knife to get the job done. And I wholeheartedly agree.

Garlic presses are for wussies. Let's count the steps involved in using one:

  1. Get a head of garlic
  2. Separate the cloves
  3. Peel the cloves
  4. Get the garlic press out of the drawer
  5. Open the garlic press
  6. Put a clove into the little hole
  7. Squeeze until your eyes pop out of your head
  8. Scrape the remaining garlic off the bottom of the press
  9. Take out whatever's left of the garlic from Step #6
  10. Clean the press

(Then either chuck it back into the drawer for next time or the trash, never to be seen again.)

That's ten steps2 to do something with a machine that can be effectively done with far less effort just using a knife. It's crazy. I can't think of one good reason for using a press; the advantage is none. You don't need a garlic press to mince garlic, people! A couple good whacks on the cutting board will do the trick -- and if you add a little salt3, it's even easier. Then just scoop your garlic off the board into your dish and all you have to clean is the board and your knife.

Just say no to garlic presses. They aren't allowed in my kitchen; they shouldn't be in yours either.




1. My favorite TV chef, no question. His technique and attention to detail is immaculate.

2. Actually, it's more like 7 steps if you have garlic on hand and the cloves are already separated and peeled. I doubt most people do, though.

3. The salt acts as an abrasive, so it breaks down the cell walls within the garlic faster. What you end up with is closer to a mash or puree, but it's essentially a (really) fine mince.