I remember a time when a garlic press was considered an essential piece of kitchen equipment. That was about the time Charles Perry started marching in parades in a garlic suit, foodies made pilgrimages to the Gilroy Garlic Festival -- then in its infancy (and now celebrating 35 years) -- and L. John Harris penned "The Book of Garlic."
To me the garlic press has always just seemed like too much trouble. I'd rather pound my cloves with salt in a mortar and pestle. But then I'm not a gadget freak. My husband, though, just possibly could be.
Last week he came home with a new garlic press, this one heavy stainless steel meticulously tooled, from Rösle, the German company that makes all those polished stainless steel peelers and zesters and melon ballers and endless utensils meant to last a lifetime or two or three.
He showed me how it worked as he squeezed some garlic right into a pot of chicken sizzling on the stove with chorizo and peppers. One advantage: The garlic never touched the cutting board, so no tedious cleanup there. And, get this, the mincing head flicks open making it easy to clean.