Words: Garlic, n.

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AWOL, ANTHONY Burgess's A Mouthful Of Air surfaced in my box of cookery books and opened at page 185: "we still have the Germanic gar in `garlic'."

This ran in the great Burgess's blood (language, and garlic). The OED unsoundly defines life's joy as an "acrid" taste but does note the compound of the Old English for spear and leek (as our century shows, German means spear man).

Meanwhile, the Slavonic scholar and New Statesman food correspondent Bee Wilson has triumphed on Masterchef. Cut from the broadcast was Loyd Grossman's remark that he could eat her fried garlic "by the bucketful, like popcorn": peel many bulbs, blanch in water; drain; repeat; blanch in stock; mix egg, flour, breadcrumbs; fry in sunflower oil and turn. Ah!