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Film / Garlic Is as Good as Ten Mothers

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Garlic Is as Good as Ten Mothers is a 1980 documentary film by Les Blank.

It is, as one might guess from the title, a love letter to "the stinking rose", garlic. Blank spends the documentary interviewing various garlic enthusiasts and films them preparing various garlic dishes. We see a young man convinced garlic saved him from dysentery, a young Irish-American woman who talks about how she had to hide her garlic enthusiasm from her mother, a Spaniard who recalls how desperately hungry people in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War ate garlic and tomatoes and nothing else, and many other fans of garlic. Garlic's supposed powers as a natural curative are discussed. The growing and harvesting of garlic is depicted. Scenes are filmed at a restaurant that puts garlic in every single dish as well as the annual Gilroy Garlic Festival (Gilroy, CA).


  • The Cameo: Werner Herzog! Herzog is seen briefly when Blank asks why he didn't include garlic as a vampire repellent in his remake of Nosferatu. Herzog talks a little bit about vampire lore, admits that garlic is mentioned in Bram Stoker's novel, then, obviously mystified, says "Why do you ask this question?"
  • Cooking Stories: A portrait of the stinking rose and the people who regard it with a quasi-religious fervor.
  • Documentary: Garlic. It's good!
  • Editorial Synaesthesia: Sometimes screenings of this film are enhanced by having garlic being cooked at the back of the theater.
  • Fanservice Extra: One surprising shot features a naked lady being massaged with garlic oil.
  • Food Porn:
    • Throughout the film we see people making various dishes with garlic that look goddamn delicious. The barbecue ribs seasoned with garlic stand out.
    • This trope is inverted however when we see some cute piglets nursing from a sow, only to soon after see said piglets freshly slaughtered and getting stuffed with garlic.
  • Garlic Is Abhorrent: Guess what? This trope is averted.
  • Meaningful Name: The title is part of a Slavic proverb, the remainder of which is "... for keeping girls away".
  • Narrator: Used fairly briefly, a narrator who talks with bombastic enthusiasm about how garlic originated in Central Asia, or how it's the second most commonly used spice after black pepper, or how almost all American garlic is grown in California.
  • Talking Heads: The whole movie is various people talking about how much they love garlic and how they use it.
  • Vampires Hate Garlic: Discussed Trope. Werner Herzog is asked why he didn't include this in his vampire movie.