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wild garlic, bloating cure, cows, Pennsylvania Dutch dialect, milk, tooth


A handwritten manuscript entitled, "Garlic - 'Gnuvlich'!", compiled by Victor C. Dieffenbach, dated June 22, 1953. Within, Dieffenbach describes the varieties of garlic and its various uses in folk medicine and cooking.

Corresponds to:

Packet 577-213-9 to 577-213-10


Garlic. - “Gnuvlich!”

Garlic is called “gnuvlic“, in the dialect; some call it “gnuvluch” - sounding very much like “gnupluch” - the dialectical term for button-hole.

Garlic is related to the onion family. It is of two different species - the wild and the tame or cultivated variety. Both are very much alike in appearance and also in their odor or taste; only the cultivated has a much larger bulb. It is very much in demand among the foreigners in the cities and also by some Penna. Dutchmen. Personally I do not care for it.

Many folks put garlic in their sausage and in the summer bologna - “die summer-wersht”.

It has a pungent taste, much like onions, although inferior in taste.

Garlic was highly esteemed by the early settlers as a cure-all for various ailments of man and beast. I know that it was given to a cow when bloated; also when she lost her cud. The baby had its swollen jaw rubbed with a clove of garlic to hasten the breaking forth of an obstinate tooth; and Ed. Schaeffer would fry it in lard and use it as an ointment to relieve the torture of a bad case of piles.

The Indians would secrete some garlic on their person to ward off evil spirits. But as far as I have ascertained, I have yet to meet a genuine negro who will admit that he likes the smell or taste of garlic.

Wild garlic, or the weed, is very hard to eradicate. When it infests a pasture the milk will soon be affected and will have a very offensive odor and also a taste of the weed.

If the cows grazing in a pasture where wild garlic abounds can be brought in for at least an hour before milking-time, a lot of the trouble can be avoided.

I was told years ago by an old negro in Harrisburg that there was no garlic in Africa; and that there had been none in America until the Spaniards and Italians came over. When I asked him about the Greeks he replied he did not know as negroes did not like Greeks nor Italians, nor Spaniards, nor garlic. Who can throw some more light on this subject? Suggestions are in order.

June 22nd. 1953 Der Oldt Bauer.


Signed in Dieffenbach's pen name of "Der Oldt Bauer" (The Old Farmer).


English and Pennsylvania German

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Dieffenbach on Garlic, June 22, 1953



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