No laughs, maybe teers
January 4, 2015 7:32 AM   Subscribe

SLBBC - Three cheers for the onion: onions are eaten and grown in more countries than any other vegetable but rarely seem to receive much acclaim. It's time to stop taking the tangy, tear-inducing bulb for granted and give it a round of applause.

Today, though, there is little global trade in onions. About 90% are consumed in their country of origin. This may be why, in most parts of the world, onions generally escape much notice.
[...]
And unlike wheat, the onion is a staple of every major cuisine - it's arguably the only truly global ingredient.
posted by rosswald (107 comments total) 45 users marked this as a favorite
 
I have always told my friends that almost anything anyone cooks starts with an onion. This post warms my heart.
posted by danep at 7:36 AM on January 4, 2015 [13 favorites]


((O))
posted by Fizz at 7:37 AM on January 4, 2015 [21 favorites]


I always wear an onion in my belt, as was the style at the time.
posted by chavenet at 7:44 AM on January 4, 2015 [35 favorites]


Three comments in, we're slowing down. I saw this earlier and was going to post later., but I'm glad you did, it's a fun article.
posted by arcticseal at 7:51 AM on January 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I have always told my friends that almost anything anyone cooks starts with an onion. This post warms my heart.

I have determined from your comment that you have no friends of the Jainist faith. Other than that dumb observation, I completely agree with you. Onions are the cornerstone of yummy non-Jainist cuisine.
posted by NoMich at 7:59 AM on January 4, 2015


We eat onions nearly every day, yet we never just eat onions alone. My Italian grandfather would take the heel of bread, a chunk of cheese, and an onion out to the back yard for lunch in the summer. He'd eat the onion like an apple.
posted by BlueHorse at 8:00 AM on January 4, 2015


Onion in butter. Does it to me every time.
posted by carsonb at 8:00 AM on January 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


Onion in butter with thyme. No greater comfort.
posted by Wolfdog at 8:03 AM on January 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


In my late twenties I developed an allium allergy, so no garlic, onions or related vegetables for me. Yes it is terrible.
posted by humanfont at 8:09 AM on January 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


The BBC article links to Laura Kelley's website, where she gives a detailed recipe for an ancient Babylonian chicken pot pie (no, really). She's brilliant and I'm so pleased to have learned about her website.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:09 AM on January 4, 2015 [8 favorites]


onions on pizza. onions in eggs. onions on burgers. onions in channa masala. onions in upma. onions on hot dogs. onions in yellow curry. onions for life. God i love onions
posted by jcruelty at 8:10 AM on January 4, 2015 [9 favorites]


Many, many years ago, when my late grandmother was but a young newlywed, she would frequently chop up an onion and toss it into a frying pan with some butter fifteen minutes before my grandfather was due to arrive home from work. The aroma alone was enough to convince him that she had been cooking for hours.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:10 AM on January 4, 2015 [38 favorites]


It's time to revive the Onion Laws.

He'd eat the onion like an apple.
I remember reading novels (Russian? Italian? American?) where it was common for people to carry onions in their pockets and casually eat them as if they were apples or potatoes. I can't find other examples right now but there's a discussion about the pros and cons of onion-eating in For whom the bell tolls.
posted by elgilito at 8:11 AM on January 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


One reason onions are ubiquitous because they can be eaten at any stage of development, from seeds to shoots on through to the final bulb. Some forms are really uncommon, like onion sprouts, but they are all delicious.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:15 AM on January 4, 2015


I have such love for everything allium. Onions, garlic, everything. Onions especially are pure culinary magic; they're assertive but disappear (but you know if they're not there), the changes as they cook...

I need an onion now pls
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:17 AM on January 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


Last night I had pierogies; I tossed them together with mushrooms and onions cooked in oodles of butter until they were soft, piled them in a baking dish and topped with a bread crumb and parmesan mixture and put it until the broiler until the crumbs were toasted.

It would have been nothing without the onions.

Of late, I have been particularly fond of shallots, for some reason, but last night I just used good old white onions.

And in other allium news, the best recipe-from-a-book that I tried this past year was a ham, leek, and cider pie. That made for a pretty amazing smell in the kitchen, too.
posted by Wolfdog at 8:17 AM on January 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


I used to eat onions like apples as a very small child, and my grandparents would call this eating an "Irish apple." Was that a real saying or just one of those made-up grandparenty things?
posted by dayintoday at 8:18 AM on January 4, 2015


Whole onion peeled and wrapped in foil with generous gobs of butter. Put in coals of fire. Pull out after...I dunno...30 minutes? Ambrosia.
posted by ian1977 at 8:19 AM on January 4, 2015 [7 favorites]


The aroma alone was enough to convince him that she had been cooking for hours.

Ha! Yes. The best wife cheat ever.
posted by BlueHorse at 8:21 AM on January 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


Another onion-grandfather story: My Norwegian grandfather ate a sandwich of thick slices of onion with thick slices of cold butter and a bit of salt.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 8:26 AM on January 4, 2015 [9 favorites]


Onions are Hufflepuffs of the kitchen. Hardworking, uncomplaining, goods-over-glory vegetables that Get Shit Done. God I love onions.
posted by saturday_morning at 8:28 AM on January 4, 2015 [30 favorites]


Come to think of it, it probably wasn't even butter that my grandmother used. It was probably schmaltz. That would take the aroma to a whole new level, I think.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:30 AM on January 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


My grandfather would make sandwiches of white bread, sliced raw onion, peanut butter and a slice or two of ham. They were (and are) delicious.
posted by chavenet at 8:36 AM on January 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


Part of the appeal to me in this story (and why I posted) was the part about how almost all onions are locally grown. Apparently there is one thing that bridges all cultures, all societies - the humble onion farmer!
posted by rosswald at 8:36 AM on January 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


There are few better smells than an onion cooking in butter.
posted by apricot at 8:48 AM on January 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Another onion-grandfather story: My Norwegian grandfather ate a sandwich of thick slices of onion with thick slices of cold butter and a bit of salt.

This childless Canadian is an enormous fan of thick slices of onion with liverwurst in a sandwich.

Which may explain why I don't get many dates.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:58 AM on January 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I have a friend who refuses to eat onions. So wrong.
posted by double bubble at 8:58 AM on January 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I did not read the article or the comments yet, but let me just say that for some reason there's always 1/2 an onion sitting in my fridge ready to add to pretty much anything. I think it's the manifestation of some universal principle, but frankly, I'm just glad to live in an age of such wonders.
posted by mikelieman at 9:03 AM on January 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


Onions disagree with my mother, so she hardly ever cooked with them. The weird-and-kind-of-gross neighbors down the street always cooked their not-very-good food with onions, so I associated onions with the gross neighbors and their gross food, and never used them.

So I didn't really discover that ONIONS ARE AMAZING until my mid-20s. Why did no one tell me!?
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 9:16 AM on January 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


I have a friend who refuses to eat onions

You know that guy too huh? This isn't the reason I stopped talking to him but it didn't help.
posted by 1adam12 at 9:17 AM on January 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


Slice raw onions thickly, and marinate them in chicken schmaltz with lots of salt. Serve on rye bread with or without chopped liver. Oh my.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:20 AM on January 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


Amongst my husband's minor physical ailments is an extreme sensitivity to the tear-inducing properties of onions. Chopping onions? He's got to be on the other side of the house or behind a closed door to not be affected. Cooking onions? He'll come upstairs and go "auuuugh, onions!! why didn't you tell me?!" Apparently his eyes still burn if he walks through where strong onions were cooked an hour earlier.

I still cook with them, because onions are delicious.
posted by deludingmyself at 9:31 AM on January 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


When it comes to chopping, you may ameliorate his distress somewhat by chilling them in the fridge for a couple of hours or the freezer for about 20 minutes before chopping. It doesn't render the volatile compounds inert but it does help cut down on the crying.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:33 AM on January 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


The best wife cheat ever.

Wifehacker
posted by Riki tiki at 9:35 AM on January 4, 2015 [10 favorites]


There is an old Yiddish insult, "May you grow like an onion with your head in the ground."
posted by humanfont at 9:39 AM on January 4, 2015


Dark rye bread, sweet onions, mustard. Awesome sandwich.
posted by soundguy99 at 9:40 AM on January 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


One of my sisters hates onions and will not eat them. I have pointed out that anytime she eats in a restaurant, she eats onions, but she says that if she doesn't know about it, it is ok and doesn't count. Don't even get me started on how she won't eat mushrooms, either.
posted by sfkiddo at 9:42 AM on January 4, 2015


My kitchen is never without a healthy stock of onion and garlic. The staff of life, those two.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:45 AM on January 4, 2015 [8 favorites]


A while back I used to wake myself up by eating a small raw red onion first thing in the morning.


It worked.

I also can make a mean onion stew that's basically French Onion Soup but thicker and without cheese.
posted by The Whelk at 9:47 AM on January 4, 2015 [5 favorites]




Whelk I have a similar recipe that basically sustained me through university and the un-/underemployment that followed, on the basis of $3/10lb onion bags
posted by saturday_morning at 9:51 AM on January 4, 2015


My girlfriend also claimed to hate onions and refused to eat them (she actually told me she was allergic, and I believed her until I saw her eating restaurant food with onions in them). Then, I made sausage with carmelized onions and apples, and now she'll eat cooked onions, at least. I'm hoping in a few years, we'll get up to raw red onions.
posted by empath at 9:54 AM on January 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


What is schmaltz?
posted by double bubble at 10:05 AM on January 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I used to be an onion hater. I was a picky child. My family was too but it all seemed normal then. They didn't really cook vegetables growing up. If it wasn't the main course protein it came from a can and was reheated in the microwave. I never saw an onion being cut until I moved out and had to start cooking for myself. Now they're just something I pick up automatically when shopping, because it's better to have an onion and not need it than the other way around.
posted by downtohisturtles at 10:09 AM on January 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Rendered chicken or duck fat, Ashkenazi Jews used it instead of butter or lard to keep kosher.
posted by Small Dollar at 10:10 AM on January 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


Count me in as hating onions; of every variety. The smell lingers on your breath and the taste contaminates and spoils everything else you eat. No, no, no.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 10:15 AM on January 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


They stink, they make people cry; leave them in the sun they go all brown and start growing little white hairs.
posted by Segundus at 10:17 AM on January 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Have always wondered what the british called chives since learning they had the wrong name for green onions. See, here in Murica where we invented everything, chives are called green onions and spring onions are called chives.
Joe in Australia: slice em thin for more oniony goodness, more surface area for more flavor.
Favorite onion recipe: onion bagel with scallion cream cheese and sliced raw onion. I call it the 'Bad Breath Special'
posted by sexyrobot at 10:20 AM on January 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


sexyrobot; where I live in America they aren't. Chives are the small clustered green stems redolent of garlic. Green onions, scallions and spring onions are all young onions at various early stages of growth.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 10:35 AM on January 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


Huh; this FPP made me go read the Wikipedia page for onions, and I learned something new: People do divination by onions. Also something else interesting: It's forbidden by law to trade in onion futures in the US.

(Love onions. Love love love.)
posted by seyirci at 10:38 AM on January 4, 2015 [7 favorites]


The leek is king.
posted by colie at 10:40 AM on January 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


One exception to the "locally grown onions" rule: before WWII, most onions eaten in England were grown in northern France. The war, therefore, led to an acute and keenly felt onion shortage. It was apparently common for one onion to be offered as a raffle prize. This has always struck me as one of the worse privations of the home front.
posted by ostro at 10:41 AM on January 4, 2015 [9 favorites]


Libyans eat over 3x as many onions as Britons! We won something
posted by mulligan at 10:50 AM on January 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I. Love. Onions!! Always have; I remember going home for lunch in the third grade and making myself an onion sandwich - slices of onion between two slices of bread. No condiments or other accouterments. I also remember my teacher giving me a Certs when I returned to class.

Mr. Adams is from Georgia, where they're very proud of their Vidalia onions, but Vidalias are a little too mild for my taste. (I like an onion to bite me back when I bit into it.) However, my father-in-law does make a tasty side dish with a peeled Vidalia - put a pat or two of butter on it, sprinkle garlic salt on it, then microwave it until the butter is melted. Mmmm, delicious alongside fried catfish, or meatloaf, or whatever.
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:55 AM on January 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I fucking hate onions. Anytime I order something at a restaurant that comes with surprise onions, I pick out as many of them as I can, but usually the food is already ruined with garbage onion flavor.

I am also one of those people who is extra sensitive to putrid onion flatulence and my eyes burn like crazy if I am even in the same house as cooking onions.

Fuck onions.

Garlic though is amazing.
posted by Librarypt at 10:57 AM on January 4, 2015


Area Man Realizes He Enjoys Cooked Onions, Has Not Realized They Are In Lots of Stuff
posted by ostranenie at 11:15 AM on January 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


An amazing pasta sauce I make regularly is onions, anchovies, and butter. Cooked for a long time on a low heat. Heaven.
posted by aychedee at 11:16 AM on January 4, 2015 [11 favorites]


I seem to have much more sensitive eyes to onions than everyone else. I cook with them all the time but if I have to chop more than a single large one (fast) I really suffer with the tears and have to go and wash my eyes with cold water. Anyone got any tips?
posted by colie at 11:17 AM on January 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Susan Christie - I Love Onions - 1966

la la la
posted by sidereal at 11:18 AM on January 4, 2015


One of my favorite things to make is beef pakrikash - which contains equal weight of beef and onions - amazing.

I have a friend who's mother is a Chinese Buddhist who abstain from meat (of course) and all alliums (onion, garlic, chives...) as they thought to be too pleasurable and distract the mind with impure thoughts. Ha! BUT cooking for her is kinda hard, and you realize just how much onions and garlic is used to give food its base notes of sweetness and depth - and replicating that is darn near impossible.
posted by helmutdog at 11:19 AM on January 4, 2015 [1 favorite]




Andrei Codrescu on onions:
There are entire cultures -- like the one I come from -- that would be inconceivable without the onion. A single onion, sometimes accompanied by a hunk of black bread, was my entire breakfast for the whole of my childhood and adolescence. I would balance my single onion on the top stair of the school and bring my fist down with a blam on top of it. I would then extract the sweetest part, the heart, from the elegantly smashed body, and delight in its succulence until the bell rang. Tearfully, we lined back up to go to our classrooms, hundreds of little hearts powered by the pungent queen of veggies.
posted by mississippi at 11:23 AM on January 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


Okay, I am now very frustrated that everything I can find about the "Five Pungent Spices" says it includes "onions and garlic" but never says what are the other three?
posted by RobotHero at 11:24 AM on January 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


One of my favorite things to make with onions is this:
Brown some meat in a skillet, you don't need to cook it all the way through. Chicken thighs are good for this.

Put an entire diced onion in the skillet, and sauté it for about five minutes.

Add 2 cups of water, bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. You may need to keep adding water every once in a while to stop it from drying out. At the end of it, you get a nice rich sauce, and the meat will finish cooking in the liquid, absorbing all the onion flavor.
posted by empath at 11:25 AM on January 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


Wait, I've found the other three. Scallions, Chives and Leeks. Which makes sense, I guess.
posted by RobotHero at 11:26 AM on January 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


colie: I seem to have much more sensitive eyes to onions than everyone else. I cook with them all the time but if I have to chop more than a single large one (fast) I really suffer with the tears and have to go and wash my eyes with cold water. Anyone got any tips?

A variety of strategies employed in our household:
  • Remove the bulb.
  • Wear goggles like Alton Brown.
  • Chill the onion (thanks fffm).
  • Use a food processor if you don't care about the precise cut.
  • Live large and buy frozen diced onions.

  • Admittedly, our current default is "leave the room & make someone else cut the onions for you."
    posted by deludingmyself at 11:28 AM on January 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


    Onion goggles!
    posted by librarina at 11:34 AM on January 4, 2015


    I do what ian1977 does except I sort of slice the onion like a "blooming onion" and put butter in between the petals and add a dash of garlic salt. Wrap the scrumptious beast in foil and heat on grill or in oven.
    posted by futz at 11:59 AM on January 4, 2015


    beef pakrikash

    I just made Chicken Pakrikash cause I noticed I had a bag of onions and a pint of sour cream.

    I used to tear up like crazy cutting onions, but now? I have to be like, chopping up ten of them before it starts to irritate.
    posted by The Whelk at 12:04 PM on January 4, 2015


    My grandma's fish chowder recipe is loved by everyone. The broth is just onions and water, really (a tiny amount of white wine, a few bay leaves and whole cloves, celery leaves...). It's amazing how such great flavor can come from essentially one ingredient.

    When I run out of onions, my home cooked meals always come out poorly. It's a pretty tough ingredient to replace!
    posted by misskaz at 12:10 PM on January 4, 2015


    Adding like half a chopped onion really improves the flavor of cheap ramen, and the pieces take up the stuff in the flavor packet and get super yummy.
    posted by Small Dollar at 12:22 PM on January 4, 2015


    Also, as frequently repeated - Shallots are often a secret weapon in things that require onions cause they have a richer more dense flavor.
    posted by The Whelk at 12:28 PM on January 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


    East African/Ethiopian-Eritrean deeply caramelized onions (Wot base) *rule*. Chop (do not mince) yellow or white onions, slowly cook while stirring in cast-iron or nonstick pan until deep orange-red and disintegrated - about 30-45 mins. Add dribbles of water to deglaze pan as necessary. If you start with Walla Wallas or Vidalias, you produce a shockingly sweet dessert jam.

    We do 10lbs at a time for a household of 2, freeze most of it in 2-serving bags.
    posted by Dreidl at 12:34 PM on January 4, 2015 [8 favorites]


    What is schmaltz?

    Rendered chicken fat.
    posted by caryatid at 12:53 PM on January 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


    I love love love the smell and flavor of onions.

    I hate hate hate the texture of onions, raw or cooked.

    Solution: Cook everything with onions, then eat around them. (Seriously, when I finish a bowl of french onion soup, it has a little pile of onions in the bottom. Criminal, I'm sure, but there you go)
    posted by olinerd at 1:01 PM on January 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


    The best way to avoid tears when chopping onions is to do it really fast and get it over with. I can dice a whole onion in about ten seconds.
    posted by charlie don't surf at 1:09 PM on January 4, 2015


    I have a partially irrational bias against picky eaters. Actual allergy? Fine. But a general, blanket hate that makes you ask waiters extra questions and avoid whole classes of foods? No. You're entitled, capricious, and xenophobic. Like I said, my bias is partially irrational.

    Things like onions, though, are extra bad because, guess what? You eat onions all the fucking time and don't know it and are therefore not bothered. There's onion in nearly every stock that's used to prepare half of the dishes in any given restaurant, and there are cooked down onions in the other half.

    Not only that, but saying you don't like onions is so broad as to be meaningless. Like saying you don't like foods with more than two different vowels in the name. A raw red onion is as different from a green onion or caramelized onion as to be completely different things. Which they are.

    It's nonsensical and immoral to dislike onions, and now that I'm worked up about it I don't think my bias is irrational at all.
    posted by cmoj at 1:20 PM on January 4, 2015 [7 favorites]


    Raw onions -- green or bulb, red or white or sweet -- do not sit well with me at all. The texture squicks me out, they make my tummy feel funny, and I can taste them on my breath for hours. The thought of eating an onion like an apple (even a vidalia or walla walla) makes me feel vaguely ill.

    But cook that onion? Saute it, roast it, sweat it, caramelize it? Heaven. Seriously the best part of the best foods that are not chocolate. The (sort of) exception to this rule is pizza -- raw onions as a pizza topping will not cook sufficiently to transition from gross --> tasty for me (but if the onions are pre-caramelized they are an ideal topping, of course).

    Chives are fine raw. Garlic is better cooked than raw. I'm not sure I've ever had a raw leek.

    I have a friend who shares humanfont's affliction, and honestly, I'm not sure I would want to go on living if I had to deal with a hardship like that. I admire their strength in the face of such adversity.

    So what I'm saying is that onions contain multitudes of layers.
    posted by sparklemotion at 1:44 PM on January 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


    > I have determined from your comment that you have no friends of the Jainist faith

    Maybe not, but Jain followers often make up for lack of onion with hing, otherwise known as asafoetida. While deliciously oniony when cooked, it has a hilariously strong cow-poop smell before it hits the pan. Strongly recommended for kitchen pranks (or if you need onion taste, but have the allergies).
    posted by scruss at 1:47 PM on January 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


    I also can make a mean onion stew that's basically French Onion Soup but thicker and without cheese.

    Sounds tasty, but you know what would make it really amazing?

    Melt some cheese on top.
    posted by Faint of Butt at 1:47 PM on January 4, 2015 [9 favorites]


    Growing up in an Indian family it was common to see my dad (and now myself) cut up an onion into slices, sprinkle with salt, pepper, cayenne, & lemon juice. To eat onth the side of whatever meal we're eating as a light garnish. It's definitely something I associate with my father and growing up. It also tastes great with pretty much anything you're eating: lentil soup, roti, vegetables, etc.
    posted by Fizz at 2:26 PM on January 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


    My grandfather would make sandwiches of white bread, sliced raw onion, peanut butter and a slice or two of ham.
    not sure about the peanut butter on this...?


    The grow fields and fields of onions in Weiser, Idaho. I can't hardly drive by there without wanting the biggest, greasiest hamburger with cheddar cheese and an inch thick slice of onion...


    What is schmaltz?
    The food of the gods.

    We grow chives, garlic, leeks, and spring onions. Can't hardly grow Spanish, Walla Wallas, or Vadalias because it gets pretty hot here and they require so much water. High temps, not enough water = onions so strong they can hardly be chopped without asphyxiating you.
    posted by BlueHorse at 2:28 PM on January 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


    Huh; this FPP made me go read the Wikipedia page for onions, and I learned something new: People do divination by onions. Also something else interesting: It's forbidden by law to trade in onion futures in the US.

    (Love onions. Love love love.)
    posted by seyirci at 10:38 AM on January 4 [6 favorites +] [!]


    This is fascinating law.

    7 U.S. Code § 13–1 - Violations, prohibition against dealings in motion picture box office receipts or onion futures; punishment

    (a) No contract for the sale of motion picture box office receipts (or any index, measure, value, or data related to such receipts) or onions for future delivery shall be made on or subject to the rules of any board of trade in the United States. The terms used in this section shall have the same meaning as when used in this chapter.
    (b) Any person who shall violate the provisions of this section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof be fined not more than $5,000.

    posted by chavenet at 2:34 PM on January 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


    sexyrobot; where I live in America they aren't. Chives are the small clustered green stems redolent of garlic. Green onions, scallions and spring onions are all young onions at various early stages of growth.


    Sorry, did not see that picture said clockwise from top left. I have however heard British folk refer to green onions (or spring onions or scallions) as chives very often so it made me wonder what they call chives. From now on to avoid confusion, I propose that we call all small onions and onionlike products "baby onions"
    posted by sexyrobot at 3:12 PM on January 4, 2015


    I have a partially irrational bias against picky eaters. Actual allergy? Fine. But a general, blanket hate that makes you ask waiters extra questions and avoid whole classes of foods? No. You're entitled, capricious, and xenophobic. Like I said, my bias is partially irrational.

    Things like onions, though, are extra bad because, guess what? You eat onions all the fucking time and don't know it and are therefore not bothered. There's onion in nearly every stock that's used to prepare half of the dishes in any given restaurant, and there are cooked down onions in the other half.
    ...
    It's nonsensical and immoral to dislike onions, and now that I'm worked up about it I don't think my bias is irrational at all.

    Ehh, it's irrational alright. Especially the xenophobic accusation? That's pretty outrageous and unkind.

    Usually when people say "I don't like onions" there's a good chance they don't mind cooked-down, diminished onion flavor in stocks, curries, etc. That's the nature of the onion -- just like you said, it exists in so many forms and states that it's meaningless to say "I don't like onions" to a pedantic irrational person like yourself, but a well-thinking rationalist would conclude that "I don't like onions" probably means "I don't like the pungent taste and/or texture of fresh or slightly cooked onions." Most people who don't like onions don't like them on pizza. A percentage of them might not mind if they are caramelized first, or if they are Hawaiian Sweet Onions, or whatever. So what, such is life. You're the entitled one, expecting everyone to have the same tastes.

    It is a real thing and I think it is a function in many cases of parents trying to foist onions on their children at the wrong point.

    There are plenty of other examples of this -- celery is also present in stocks that people love, but many people don't like the taste of celery by itself. I can enjoy the taste and texture of every chile pepper I've tried, but I can't stand bell peppers, which were also "foisted" on me as a child, and I just never learned to appreciate, though I come back and give them a chance from time to time.
    posted by aydeejones at 3:18 PM on January 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


    Note: I am irony and humor tone-deaf this weekend and should shut up, been grinding in IT hell and this onion talk is clearly too much :D Everybody is Awesome, Onions Are Awesome and I was inspired by the guy who hoped his SO would soon be eating red onions. Hmm
    posted by aydeejones at 3:30 PM on January 4, 2015


    I used to eat onions like apples as a very small child,

    When I was a little girl, we went for a holiday (for those in the US: a vacation) in an area (Zeeland) where a lot of onions are grown. Apparently, it was just after harvest time and the fields and roads were littered with big, round, slightly muddy, very fresh onions. After a day or three my mother said 'Why is that child so smelly?'
    You guessed it.

    Right now, if I were to look out my window, I'd see... well, nothing, because it's dark. But in the daytime, I'd see a field where onions have been grown and harvested recently, and some are still lying around. Maybe I should go and grab one tomorrow, peel it and take a bite.

    Then again, maybe not. I don't want to hear my mother ask that question again.
    posted by Too-Ticky at 3:52 PM on January 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


    > "... hungry ghosts will hover around and kiss their lips"

    I'll have you know that a hungry ghost and I have developed a very loving, deeply committed relationship based on mutual respect, shared interests, and onions.
    posted by kyrademon at 4:09 PM on January 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


    I am a wondrous creature for women in expectation, a service for neighbors. I harm none of the citizens except my slayer alone. My stem is erect, I stand up in bed, hairy somewhere down below. A very comely peasant's daughter dares sometimes, proud maiden, that she grips at me, attacks me in my redness, plunders my head, confines me in a stronghold, feels my encounter directly, woman with braided hair. Wet shall be that eye.

    --Riddle translated from the Anglo-Saxon of the Exeter Book, c. 960-990
    posted by Pallas Athena at 4:26 PM on January 4, 2015 [13 favorites]


    They stink, they make people cry; leave them in the sun they go all brown and start growing little white hairs.

    I know that guy.
    posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:33 PM on January 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


    The entry on The Onion Futures Trading Act has an great write up on wikipedia. This needs to be a movie.
    posted by humanfont at 5:13 PM on January 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


    My stem is erect, I stand up in bed, hairy somewhere down below

    I will never look at an onion the same way again.
    posted by Dip Flash at 5:49 PM on January 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


    Inspired by this thread, I took an onion, peeled it, cut it in rough quarters, drizzled it in olive oil, added a little salt and pepper, wrapped it in tinfoil, and stuck it in the oven for an hour at 200 °C. Nectar!
    posted by scruss at 5:56 PM on January 4, 2015 [8 favorites]


    Something I tried recently (and suggested to I think desjardins in an AskMe yesterday) is to use a bit too much butter when caramelizing onions in a crock pot for onion soup. Drain off all the butter and other liquid, cook that down to sort of onion-butter-jam in a saucepan, and toast the crouton with it. Whole new layer of sweet onion flavour for the soup!
    posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:10 PM on January 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


    Oh yes, and favorite Butter Onion Tomato sauce recipe from Marcella Hazan:

    Heat 2-3 tablespoons of butter or olive oil in a cast-iron or non-stick pan on low-medium heat
    Skin and cut an onion in two halves equator-wise. Put it cut side down in the hot fat. Cook until transparent where heated - thus flavoring the oil.
    Cut paste (Roma or San Marziano) tomatoes into large dice, and scatter around the cooking onion. Stir and cook, still on low-medium heat, until the tomatoes fall apart.
    Smush to a paste with the side of a cooking knife and about 1/4 a teaspoon of salt and a pinch of sugar, a skinned clove of garlic. Stir into the now-saucy tomatoes.
    Add a few grinds of black pepper and correct the saltiness.
    Remove and discard the onion (or eat it as the cook's reward, that's what I do), and serve.
    posted by Dreidl at 6:28 PM on January 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


    Oh and if you want to deepen colour and flavour of stocks, slice an onion in half hemispherically and cook the cut side in a dry pan until actually blackened. You won't get any burnt bitterness in your stock but you will get more colour and flavour.
    posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:45 PM on January 4, 2015


    1) Fill .65 quart mini slow-cooker with sliced onions

    2) Plug in.

    3) Happiness.
    posted by mikelieman at 7:16 PM on January 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


    I've drastically reduced onion usage since my wife discovered they irritate her, and only occasionally throw shallots in things because they're not as offensive, apparently.

    This made me resolve to get a load of onions and just cook them up for myself.
    posted by univac at 10:23 PM on January 4, 2015


    All you onion fans have read Louis Sachar's book, Holes, right? Oh, man it's so good, we should read it again. The movie's not bad either, but we onion lovers prefer the book, of course.
    posted by straight at 9:35 AM on January 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


    New York State onions are know for their bold flavor due to our glacial muck soils!

    (Used to work in agriculture curriculum development. That was from one of our ag facts fortune cookies.)
    posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:14 PM on January 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


    My mom, when she was twelve or so, won some kind of Onion Marketing Board essay competition. When the prize arrived in the mail, it turned out to be a box in which nestled a huge red onion to which little onions were attached by pretty ribbons.

    She and I, and my aunts and female cousins, occasionally contemplate all getting together and having someone tattoo an onion on each of us, by way of family solidarity.
    posted by tangerine at 1:37 PM on January 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


    Where economics play, so do politics. Waiting for my morning coffee at Lower Parel’s Café Zoe, I scan the high table, where the staff has laid out about a dozen of the day’s papers. Among this spread, I spot headlines blaring that the price surge is threatening the incumbent Congress Party’s bid in the upcoming elections. Parliament is debating price-control mechanisms: imports from China and Iran, export bans, and the like. I come across one paper reporting the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party has taken to selling onions at two-thirds the market price outside a party office in North Delhi. Meanwhile, the government maintains the role of Reassurance Extraordinaire. There will be relief soon—in a couple of weeks, perhaps!—they continue to say. And they will continue to say it, because the auntie on the train wasn’t kidding about onions overthrowing governments.
    posted by infini at 11:12 PM on January 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


    slice an onion in half hemispherically

    As opposed to... ?
    posted by Wolfdog at 7:56 AM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


    oh lord you're just asking for the topologists to start lecturing us aren't you
    posted by Joe in Australia at 8:25 AM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


    slice an onion in half hemispherically

    herp derp I meant around the equator, leaving the root intact.

    I am not so smart with the brain-making.
    posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:26 AM on January 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


    English is not really rich in words for describing vegetable geometry with the precision we sometimes need.
    posted by Wolfdog at 12:00 PM on January 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


    I have however heard British folk refer to green onions (or spring onions or scallions) as chives very often so it made me wonder what they call chives.

    We call them chives.
    posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 4:21 PM on January 17, 2015


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