An essential ingredient in all Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking, garlic is used in both its fresh and dried forms. It is also pickled whole in its skin. It is believed to ward off the evil eye and to contain healing properties beneficial to the circulation of the blood. The lavish use of garlic and other strong tastes in Anatolian cooking contrasts with the smoother tastes of the Istanbul Palace cooking, which uses only small quantities of garlic, in specific dishes. Garlic is best crushed to a pulp with salt, which acts as an abrasive - by means of a mortar and pestle for the best effect - and then used according to personal taste.