Allergic to Italian-Breath

Photos: Geir Egil Bergjord

I started in the restaurant business in 1983 and in 1986 opened my first restaurant. More on that in the memoirs. The mid-80´s were different than the 2010´s, in some ways very different. In those hectic just-opened-this-place days one thing I remember very well is how many people were allergic to garlic.

Today food allergies, and I am dead certain there is a lot more to this than just being allergic, run rampant. Restaurants in Norway are required to warn their guests of anything that anyone can remotely be allergic to, including soy, fish and those pesky sesame seeds.

Back in the good ole 80´s our restaurant guests were concerned about how hot the food was (since the restaurant was serving Mexican food), and of course the famous allergic-to-garlic sydrome. What we soon found out was that the problem was neither allergy or a lack of fear of vampires. These guests just didn´t want to go to work the next day smelling like an Italian (OMG, those darned Italians and their burritos).

I am suspicious of anyone who doesn´t love garlic. I don´t trust them and they are probably not nice people. I don´t need loads of garlic in my food, but a lot of the food I like best has some garlic in it. I have made the famous chicken with 40 cloves of garlic (or was it 80?) and I´ve made aioli garlicky enough you would think it was made with chiles. But for the most part I just want the amount of garlic the dish calls for.

Today´s recipe is for the best garlic bread I have ever eaten. I´ve been making this bread for years after being inspired by a recipe in the cookbook from The Stinking Rose in San Francisco. This garlic bread has it all: butter, mayo, parmesan and garlic. There are a few spices and some parsley thrown in to round things off, so if you want a great garlic fix – that will give you Italian-breath, here it is.

This recipe appeared in my first book about grilling “Far lukter svidd” (Dad´s On Fire) from 2002. The pictures are from the same book. Thanks Geir Egil!

Grill høst


Garlic Bread

An old proverb says: Shallots are for babies, onions are for men, and garlic is for heroes. I tend to say: There is no such thing as “just a little” garlic.

I have enjoyed garlic bread ever since I was little kid. I still like it even though I am no longer a kid – or little.

Amount: A lot, but it is not possible to eat just “a little”

Method: Direct

Temperature: Medium High

Preparation: Approx. 20 minutes

Grilling time: Approx. 10 minutes


250g unsalted butter, room temperature

2 dl grated Parmesan cheese (not cheese in a bag)

1 dl mayonnaise

6 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

3 tablespoons chopped parsley

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large French bread (or a baguette), cut in half lengthwise


  1. Thoroughly mix the butter, Parmesan cheese, mayonnaise, garlic, parsley and cayenne pepper in a bowl.
  2. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Spread the mixture on both halves of the bread.
  4. Wrap the bread in aluminum foil.
  5. Place the foil package(s) on the grill. It will take about 5 minutes at high temperature for the butter to melt.
  6. Take the bread out of the foil and brown it a little, right on the grill.

The butter can also be used in other ways. Serve over freshly grilled asparagus, spring onions or fish.


It is said that garlic can cure various diseases: scorpion bites, cancer, rubella, tobacco poisoning, dog bites, diabetes, dandruff, bronchitis, bad stomachs, epilepsy, gangrene, influenza, lead poisoning, measles, and much more. It will also keep the vampires away. A convenient commodity, I think.

If you have old garlic in the cupboard at home that has begun to sprout, you can plant it. The green seedlings that grow can be used as chives, and have a nice, mild garlic flavor.

Shops are full of old garlic (about which you are actually allowed to complain). Check that the cloves are hard, that they have a nice, fresh color, and that there are no green sprouts. Store garlic at room temperature in a dark place. Never keep it in the fridge, or else it will rotten.



Here is the recipe in Norwegian:


Mengde: Mye, men det går ikke an å bare spise ”litt”

Metode: Direkte

Temperatur: Høy middels

Forberedelse: Ca. 20 minutter

Grilltid: Ca. 10 minutter

Et gammelt ordtak sier: Sjalottløk er for spedbarn, løk er for menn, hvitløk er for helter. Jeg pleier å sier: Det er ingenting som heter ”bare litt” hvitløk.

Jeg har likt hvitløksbrød helt siden jeg var liten gutt. Jeg liker det enda, selv om jeg verken er liten eller gutt.


250 g usaltet smør, romtemperert

2 dl revet parmesanost (ikke pose-ost)

1 dl majones

6 hvitløkfedd, finhakket eller presset

3 ss hakket persille

1/4 ts kajennepepper

salt og nykvernet sort pepper

1 stort franskbrød (eller noen baguetter), delt i to på langs


  1. Bland godt sammen smør, parmesan, majones, hvitløk, persille og kajennepepper i en bolle.
  2. Smak til med salt og pepper.
  3. Smør blandingen på begge halvdelene av brødet.
  4. Pakk brødet inn i aluminiumsfolie.
  5. Legg foliepakken(e) på grillen. Det vil ta ca 5 minutter på høy temperatur før å få smøret til å smelte.
  6. Pakk brødet ut av folien og brun det litt, rett på grillen.

Dette smøret kan du også bruke på andre måter. Server det over nygrillet asparges, vårløk eller fisk.


Det sies at hvitløk kan kurere diverse sykdommer: skorpionbitt, kreft, røde hunder, tobakksforgiftning, hundebitt, diabetes, flass, bronkitt, dårlig mage, epilepsi, koldbrann, influensa, blyforgiftning, meslinger og mye mer. Den skal også holde vampyrer unna. En praktisk råvare, synes jeg.

Hvis du har gammel hvitløk i skapet hjemme som har begynt å spire, kan du plante den. De grønne spirene som vokser kan brukes som gressløk, og har en fin, mild hvitløksmak.

Butikkene er fulle av gammel hvitløk (det er forresten lov å klage). Sjekk at feddene er harde, at de har en fin, frisk farge, og at det ikke er noen grønne spirer. Lagre hvitløken i romtemperatur på en mørk plass. Ha den aldri i kjøleskapet, da råtner den.


Women With Beards and Stoned Chickens

Photo: Mette Randem

I love chicken. A lot of (in their own minds) serious chefs laugh at the thought of having chicken on their menus, proving again that these guys are in need of serious help. Chicken is great stuff – when it is seasoned and cooked well. Poorly-made chicken is as awful as poorly-made broccoli or pasta or pecan pie. Well-made chicken is right up there with the best of dishes.

Continue reading Women With Beards and Stoned Chickens

Corn-On-The-Cob & The Life (And Death) Of Cookbooks

Foto: Geir Egil Bergjord (“gutten med mais”) og Mette Randem

I see corn. Everywhere I turn. The local markets are pushing sous vide corn cobs on the grilling masses and the small farmer´s markets are pushing “fresh” corn-on-the-cob; in their husks, imported from places like France. The local Norwegian fresh corn will show up later in the year, as unavailable and for the most part as unappealing as ever.

Continue reading Corn-On-The-Cob & The Life (And Death) Of Cookbooks

They´re alive, dammit! It´s a miracle!

Foto: Mari & Annika

The title of today´s post has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the post´s content. The words are from the title song to “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”, a hilarious comedy series for those who get it; probably unbearable to others. One way or the other you should check out the title sequence to the series. Just watch out; you might end up like me – not able to get the song out of your heard.

Continue reading They´re alive, dammit! It´s a miracle!

One Damn Good Muffin

Foto: Mari & Annika

I fly quite a bit, and my airline of choice is SAS. Most of my trips are between Stavanger and Oslo, flying time about forty minutes. A normal return trip from Oslo is an end of the day or an evening affair. I have been grilling, working with new products or sitting in meetings for most of the day. It´s not unlikely that I have skipped lunch and am in need of food.

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White Sauce: What A Name, What A Sauce

Foto: Mari & Annika

Once in a great while a new dish comes along that changes you. Some of my life-changing taste experiences have been sushi (at least the thing we westerners call sushi), Blackened Redfish, Marco Pierre White´s chocolate tart and Big Bob Gibson´s Alabama White Sauce.

Continue reading White Sauce: What A Name, What A Sauce