A Performative Meal
la Salle A Manger / Invisible Dog Art Center
Brooklyn, NY
March 2023

Dating back to 14th-century Europe (especially Germany), garlic has been a metonym for the Jew. The Foetor Judaicus (stink of the Jew) is the subject of many a text, image, song, and plaster-piggy-bank (really!). Indeed, in our only slightly hyperbolic estimation, Garlic-Semitism defines much of the history of German-Jewish relations. Years before the first “ethnic” rhinoplasty, 19th-century German-Jews banished garlic from their diets and their cookbooks to deodorize, de-culturate, and white-wash their identities. The Nazis minted anti-Garlic pins early on; and widespread garlic-aversion persists throughout Germany today – though it has lost its (conscious) political edge.

If one digs deeper, however, we find that Jews have also mobilized garlic as a tool to topple Teutonic-Christian authority. Not only in their imaginations and marinara sauces (though there too for sure), but also in the complicated histories of vampire lore, Talmudic debate, folkloric fable, and many a Bubbe’s coveted recipe. Please join us for a performative dinner as we harness the spirit of Alice Waters and Les Blank to celebrate and interrogate the stinking rose in its many varietals and to collaboratively ask pressing questions about how the physiology of smell and taste relates to our memories, our histories, our identities, and to different forms of bigotry.

Co-Creators: Brandon Woolf, Matt Korahais, and Leonie Bell
Chef: Lucien Zayan