Last week a package came for me, from an address and a person whose name was unknown to me. Inside was this handmade dishtowel, and no card. Knowing my friend Jane has a penchant for handmade gifts, and shares the vision of an egalitarian world, I correctly surmised this was from her.
The metaphor of smashing garlic and patriarchy is not lost on me. Both are methods to infuse a richness in taste, aroma, and proper seasoning–essential for a well-put-together dish, and a well-put-together society. Until I decided to look it up, however, I did not realize just how apt this metaphor was for describing a necessary challenge to the current order.
Lightly crushing the cloves accomplishes the tall task of smoothing out garlic’s temperamental nature…can impart a pungent flavor that is difficult to harness..add too early..burns and becomes acrid…latter stages..steams or boils, leaving it raw-tasting and unpleasant.
This is where thinking big helps find garlic’s softer, more subtle side. Left whole and partially smashed (just enough to release its powerful oils), garlic adapts to a range of high-heat techniques, cooking steadily and lending a mellow richness to a dish.
Accurately stated, the technique is more of a restrained flattening than an all-out smashing. (October 13, 2004, p. F01)
So to put that in perspective, smashing the patriarchy should be “more of a restrained flattening than an all-out smashing.” The point is not total destruction, but smoothing out the temperamental nature of the patriarchy–after all, the patriarchy is not an individual: it is a system of rich and powerful men who dominate every sector of public and private life. You know, that part that is difficult to harness, burns and becomes acrid, steams or boils, leaving a raw-tasting and unpleasant side effect for the rest of us.
So, if it all started with smashing garlic, then what came next? More cooking coming up!