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What Chicago and Garlic Have in Common

Here’s a new fun-filled fact for those of you who are inquisitive and don’t find the smell of garlic disgusting at all.

According to history, and documented journals, Chicago was named after a mild-tasting garlic, Allium Tricoccum, whose big, broad leaves emit a skunk-like smell when stepped on. In the mind-17th Century, the Illinois tribes who farmed in the area called it “chicagou,” or “skunk,” not because it smelled bad but because it sprayed like a skunk.

The evidence for this theory is found in the journal of Henri Joutel, who wrote this entry in 1687:

“We arrived at a place which is named Checagou, which, according to what we learned, has taken its name from the quantity of garlic which grows in this district, in the woods … a species of garlic in quantity which is not entirely like that of France, having its leaf broader and shorter, and is also not so strong, though its taste closelyapproaches it but is not like the little onions or the onion of France.”

Want to read more history on the relationship between Chicago and garlic? Click on the link below.

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