This $10 Garlic Gadget Has Drastically Improved My Cooking
Garlic and I go way back. We’ve seen each other through the hardest moments (a tearful break-up conversation at an Olive Garden when I was a teenager) and the most joyful (a post-wedding snack on a pontoon featuring garlic Parmesan fries in tiny paper cones). From the time I first learned to cook, watching my mother bent over her old cutting board in our sunny kitchen, through many meals hosted in my tiny apartment kitchens, garlic has been my standby flavor companion. My ride-or-die. Ready to impart its pungent je ne sais quoi in every dish; sometimes subtly, and sometimes with the aplomb of a wailing siren, but always, a loving constant in my cooking life.
But there comes a time in every union, no matter how devoted, when the depths of your attachment get tested. While pregnant with my daughter, the smell of fresh garlic made me a wee bit nauseous. Although that particular antipathy passed, in recent years, I began to loathe the sticky feeling of garlic after mincing, along with the leftover smell on my hands. I also found most garlic presses persnickety to clean (clearly it’s them, not me?). So I began to turn to the jarred stuff, which was a fine substitute in a pinch. But more often than not, I’d just skip the fresh garlic called for in every recipe, dashing in some garlic powder instead — I hear you gasping, and I accept your judgment. So my bulbs of garlic languished on the counter, weeping papery peels of betrayal.
And then, in an unsurprising twist, TikTok came to the rescue. I saw home cooks using these stainless steel garlic press rockers, which do not involve any extraneous parts, and apparently delivered minced garlic with ease. The ergonomic design seemed great for anyone who may struggle with the grip involved in other presses. And because there are no fiddly parts with the press rocker, it only requires a quick rinse under hot water, or a run through the dishwasher on the top rack. At $10, it was a quick add-to-cart moment.
The garlic press rocker arrived with a silicone peeler, and a teeny spatula made for scraping the minced garlic out of the press rocker. If you have kids, I will warn you that you need to hide that spatula, because my daughter immediately absconded with it and hid it away in her play kitchen until I coaxed it out of her with a lollipop bribe. That day, I used my new garlic press rocker to make one of my favorite quick WFH lunches: fried rice.
I did not practice garlic restraint this time, my friends. Clove after clove got minced with my new gadget, and each came out in perfect, uniform pearls of garlicky bits. It was actually sort of fun to rock the press back and forth over the cloves. You do get a layer of garlic skin on the underside of the press, but I’ve found that to happen with the traditional non-rocking presses too. The resulting flavor? Fresh, biting, incomparable. Bring on the scampis, the allium-laced skillets, the pert vinaigrettes. A new love story was born. Now, I can use garlic with abandon. My fingers tend to smell better. My food always tastes better. My love for this tool is real.
Bonus: This garlic press rocker also works for mincing ginger, so it’s not technically a one-use gadget, if you are opposed to such things. (I have no star-crossed love story with ginger to impart, but if you do, this may be the tool for you.)
Buy: Garlic Press Rocker, $9.95
This post originally ran on Kitchn. See it there: The $10 Garlic Tool That’s Drastically Improved My Cooking.