#899 The smell of frying onions

Get past the tears and sniff it in

According to our egghead pals over at Wikipedia, the onion has a long and glorious past. For instance, get this:

•Ancient Egyptians used to worship onions. That’s right — they believed their spherical shape and concentric rings symbolized eternal life. They also used to bury their dead with onions, figuring that the strong smell would eventually bring them back to life.

• In Ancient Greece, the athletes used to munch on onions because they thought it would lighten the weight of their blood. Remember: this was before Atkins.

Roman gladiators were rubbed down with onions to firm up their muscles. Probably also helped them slip out of tough bear hugs and sleeper-holds, too.

• Okay, last one: in the Middle Ages, onions were more valuable than a new jousting sword or a decent moat subcontractor. People paid rent with them and gave them as presents. Doctors even prescribed them to move bowels, stifle coughs, lift erections, and kill headaches. Seriously, imagine a big bag of onions wedged between the eye drops and skin cream at the drug store. That’s what it was like back then.

Anyway, given that illustrious past of the almighty onion, I sort of feel like they don’t get enough credit these days. We don’t worship them like we used to, but maybe we should. After all, they’re still cheap, healthy, and easy to store. And they really do have a lot of healthy properties. Plus, and here’s the best part, they smell delicious when they’re frying in a sizzling glob of butter.

Yes, when you walk into a house and smell those onions frying, it’s a beautiful moment. Partly because they smell delicious, partly because it means someone’s cooking dinner, and partly because now you have to solve the mystery of what’s cooking. It could be anything, really: perogies, sausages, curry, maybe a stir fry? The point is that the house smells great and you can’t help but start salivating.

So next time you’re frying up a pan full of onions and sniffing up that delicious aroma, just remember to stop for a second and think about its proud and noble heritage. Because they’ve come a long way to be part of your dinner tonight. And they’re happy to be here.

AWESOME!

worship-the-onionPhotos from: here and here

33 thoughts on “#899 The smell of frying onions

  1. There’s something special about the frying of onions for any reason, really. I personally enjoy eating onions raw. Sure, no one may want to kiss me afterward, but it’s their loss.

    Also: the trick to not cry when chopping onions is to chew gum while doing so.

    1. lol at ‘it’s their loss”

      but yeah.. I always get that familiar nice and warm feeling each time I walk into the kitchen and I could smell the onions frying in vegetable oil or butter. Reminds me of my childhood when after playing out in the sun during summer, I immediately go straight to the kitchen to drink water and the smell of frying onions (sometimes with garlic) is incredibly AWESOME.

  2. I love the smell of cooking onions but not so much the taste, unless they’re one of a bunch of ingredients (in a pasta sauce or something like that.)

  3. See, I used to hate onions as a kid, but as I grew older I realized that they can be quite amazing if done right. I am still not a raw-onion dude, but I’ll get there!

  4. Eating raw onions (and garlic) is supposed to be uber-healthy. Also works as a pretty good preventive contraceptive!

    1. correction: ACTUALLY jesus is (now) around 2016 because he was actually born around 6 bc. historians are to blame. and please do not call God an invisible sky wizard. he is real everywhere you look. and those words also remind me of merlin in the cartoon disney movie the sword in the stone.

    2. omg! i cant believe someone other than me out there knows about pierogy! haha my grandparents are polish, and i go insane when my babcia makes them. so i am glad there are others that have experienced the beauty of this treat!

  5. Fried onions smell is the best!!! Reminds me of half days at school and coming home to Steak-Ummm sandwiches!

  6. I can’t stand the stale smell of onions in a house the days after they’ve been fried. Some of you like onion smells, I know, probably because you have good associations with them – just like I love the smell of cigarettes and carburetor cleaner – ‘cuz of my dad, BUT that doesn’t mean I share those smells with my guests! Onion/garlic houses on day two are revolting. I prefer the smell of old cat-pee on a carpet on a humid day. My other fave.

  7. What about bacon?

    So many countless Sundays I remember being woken up, not by an alarm clock or an annoying bird, but by my mom making bacon. The aroma just swoops from the hot fry pan on the top of the stove, gently up the stairs, squeezes under your door and gently tickles the tip of your nose.

    And definetly the best hangover cure ever.

  8. Here’s an awesome new book for true allium lovers:
    Garlic and Other Alliums: The Lore and the Science, by Eric Block

  9. If there is one vegetable I cannot stand it’s onion! Even when I think of the smell my stomach turns… blegh. I never buy or use it. I have tried to eat it on many occasions, thinking like: come on, everyone likes it, it can’t be that bad.. but when a piece of onion gets crushed between my teeth I just have to spit it out.

    No problem when I don’t have to chew on it, like very small pieces in a sauce…I just try and pretend it isn’t there.
    Luckily, my man is just the same. We have an onion free house!

    I love its history though. And garlic.

  10. Just thinking about the that smell is taking me back to those olden days, where someone used to cook for me!

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