BANGKOK (AFP) - Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej on Sunday used his weekly television address to give tips on cooking with garlic, hoping to ward off protests by farmers of the pungent bulb. The colourful and controversial premier, using ingredients such as shrimp paste, chillies and mackerel, urged people to buy local rather than imported garlic, and rattled off his favourite garlic-infused dishes. "I did not come here today for ... a cooking demonstration, but I came here to show these ingredients," said Samak, who was a television chef before his People Power Party was elected in December 2007. "I want to ask people to help buy local garlic - it is perfect for Thai foods. If we are not helping each other, who will help us?" Samak's new government is facing the threat of protests from truck drivers, rice farmers, fishermen and now garlic growers, who want state assistance to battle soaring inflation and high fuel prices. "I bought the garlic to prevent them from blocking the roads," Samak told the nation. Thai truck drivers have given the government until Tuesday to come up with an assistance plan - or they say they will block roads into Bangkok. Local media last week reported that garlic farmers were threatening protests as the price of their product falls thanks to competition from imports. Samak is already facing street protests from the group whose rallies in early 2006 helped lead to a coup against former premier Thaksin Shinawatra later that year.