Michael Caine Opens Up About The Origin Of His Garlic Phobia
Veteran British actor Michael Caine has an intense hatred of garlic following his tour of duty in the Korean War, because enemy soldiers chewed the pungent onions on the battlefield.
The Cider House Rules star was sent to the Far East in 1952 as part of his national service with the British Army, to aid South Korean troops in their battles with North Korean rivals.
United Nations forces had developed a way of using their sense of smell to detect Chinese soldiers, who were aiding the enemy - but the experience put Caine off garlic for life.
The 80-year-old actor tells Esquire magazine, "I did two years national service. In 1952, when I was 19, they sent me to Korea. I was an infantry soldier. You become a man quite quickly. We used to do night patrols in the paddy fields. It was terrifying.
"The good thing about the Chinese soldiers was they chewed garlic like we chew gum so you could smell them long before they got near you. That meant when you smelled garlic you practically shat your pants! I detested garlic in cooking. It took me quite a while to get used to that."