What is it about onions? Growing up I avoided them completely. Carefully picking them off burgers, sandwiches and salads, it wasn’t until my late 20’s that I began what has been many years of courting the almighty onion. This affair has served me well as I have learned much about my paramour, the onion, and have divulged my temptations by bringing them into the other fresh loves in my life, like tomatoes, cucumbers, cilantro and parsley, to name a few.
I’m not partial to any one type, either. Shallots are nice, especially when whipping up a savory dressing. Green onions, or as my east coast friends like to say, scallions are particularly nice in salads, delicate stews or a colorful garnish—cooked or uncooked. Yellow and white onions, though often fall back seat to those reds I fancy so much.
I can’t relish in the memories of my affair without mentioning those sweet and mild Georgian Vidalias. And if hula is on my mind and I’m leaning toward a sweet oion flavor, I’m happy to entertain those Hawaiian Maui’s. I’m not going to deny the sometimes hard to get Walla Walla’s either.
Perhaps more than any other veggie I can think of, onions aren’t relegated simply to discussions around food and the kitchen. No the onion, with its often thin and delicate outer layer of thin paper skin serves as the first hint at the adventure one will have when peeling its layers, one by one. So much that the metaphor of “like peeling the layers of an onion” often refers to the complexity and depth of a person, project, idea or more; often hinting that once peeled the truth is revealed.
The truth about many onions is they can make you cry, too. Many witch-doctors or snake-oil fans prophesies and disseminate ‘secrets’ for avoiding the inevitable tears when chopping an onion. Though I’ve found none to work as effective as a pair of goggles, though I’ll be damned if I”m caught in my kitchen with my motorcycle goggles while slicing through the seductive layers of an onion. Nope. I’ll cry. Wipe. Cry. And wipe again.
After all, the adventure in getting through an onion is in the discovery of its flavor and aromatic properties it will impart on your dish du jour.
Cry baby cry. Peel back the layers of your onion. Discover the complexity of your love. And share with us your favorite recipes, so we can share with others.