You know what? Valentine’s Day can be a painful, absurd and awful day.

The air is so thick with expectation that you could cut it with a knife. Restaurants are booked to the max, and the waitstaff has to suffer through sappy cooing, dramatic proposals and high-volume breakups.

And God forbid the fateful day is on a weekend, where it takes over a whole two-and-change days: You could have a horrible breakup with someone Friday, run into a different (much worse) ex Saturday, then attend a concert alone where the musician in question is known for singing heart-squashing songs Sunday. Not that that’s ever happened to me …

Sometimes you simply must tell the world to leave you alone. A breath full of garlic can do just that.

While intensely delicious, garlic’s punchy pungency can turn your mouth into a weapon against ex-lovers, false friends and any other creature who tries to make your life miserable. Should anyone be offended, you can laugh at their foolishness: You got to indulge in garlicky heaven, and they have not!

Here are some of the most garlicky dishes from our archives. Keep this in mind: If you’ve got a significant other, you should enjoy the dishes together, for not even the garlickiest of breaths can hinder true love.

Garlic Paste (Toum), above. Two cups of garlic cloves. You read that right! This garlicky condiment, a Middle Eastern masterpiece associated with Lebanese and Turkish food, is a powerful and creamy addition to your plate. Smear it inside a wrap, serve it alongside spiced chicken and rice, or use it in a marinade or dressing. This is a high-yield recipe, so you can halve it if you like, and it will keep well in the fridge.



(Tom McCorkle for The Washington Post; food styling by Marie Ostrosky for The Washington Post)

Tim’s Macaroni and Cheese. Tim, we salute you for this excellent mac and cheese with 10 whole cloves of garlic. Ten cloves might seem like a lot, but honestly, you could add a few more. This also features a little mellow spice from pasilla or Anaheim peppers.



(Stacy Zarin Goldberg for The Washington Post; food styling by Marie Ostrosky for The Washington Post)

Garlic Roasted Potatoes. Are these roasted potatoes perfect? They’re crispy, tender and tossed with a whopping 15 cloves of garlic … so yes, they are.



(Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

Georgian Garlic Chicken (Chkmeruli). What do you get when you puree 10 garlic cloves into a creamy sauce and pour it over chicken? This spicy Georgian chicken, that’s what! Eating alone? You’ll have plenty to pack away for leftovers, which is one of the most loving things you can do for yourself.



(Renee Comet for The Washington Post)

Roasted Garlic Soup. Is your vampire of an ex still bothering you? Forget cloves: This soup uses four heads of garlic, roasted. Deeelicious. If four is a little much for you, remember that this is eight servings (so half a head per serving, approximately). Still too much? This Cauliflower and Roasted Garlic Soup has one head of garlic for four servings.



(Jennifer Chase for The Washington Post)

Mashed Potatoes With Manchego and Olive Oil. You deserve a little decadence in your day. With aromatic manchego and olive oil to flavor these creamy mashed potatoes, this simple side is a luxury. Two heads of roasted garlic take it to the next level. If you want something slightly less garlicky, this Garlicky Roast Potato Mash relies on four to six cloves to punch up the flavor.

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