For many centuries, or more likely millennia, people have added a bit of interest to plain bread by rubbing it with the cut face of a clove of garlic. Over the centuries, this was elaborated: one of the earliest most usual elaborations was to dip it in a little olive oil, if you could afford it, and later, when tomatoes were introduced to Europe, people began to rub tomato on the oiled, garlicky bread, or even to add chopped tomato. In CatalĂ  this is known as pa amb tomĂ quet; in Maltese, as hobz biz-zejt.

Then one day I was sitting eating some heavy crinkle-cut crisps (chips, in American, made by Brett's in Brittany) and I decided to try rubbing some garlic on a crisp in the same way: no olive oil or tomato, of course. Then our local shops stopped selling Brett's crinkle-cut so I had to do some more research.

Crisps and garlic. Ideally, use very fresh garlic: it has more flavour and is softer. Any will do, though. You can see that I have already rasped off a good fraction of the garlic clove.

These are Lay's olive oil crisps: the first kind I found that worked when the Brett's ran out. You need a very light touch; the crisps need to be quite solid ; it's surprisingly time consuming (though of course this slows down the rate at which you eat the crisps); and your breath will soon stink of garlic. On the other hand, they're unreasonably delicious. 

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Words and pictures copyright (c) Roger Hicks 2016