Saturday, June 21, 2014

Onion Thoughts...

Here we go, I'm about to commit an absolute blogging crime:  writing a post about food.

You've heard what the experts have had to say--"No one is interested in what you had for lunch!  Stop tweeting and Facebook-ing  your food!"  And I have disregarded that advice and tweeted about food before.  It's fun to break the rules sometimes!

And I suppose that they're actually right, those experts, in a way.  Taking a photo of your pan-seared ahi tuna or whatever, and saying, "Out with the gang at that great new restaurant!" may be a pretty good thing for your inner circle of internet pals, the folks you work with, your family, your down the street neighbor who's on your Facebook, and whatnot, but it's not something that will generally hold the interest of anyone outside that tight-knit inner circle.

I think that a posting of any kind having to do with food should be something that causes people to sit up and take notice--you've got to have something to say about food.  You don't necessarily have to be Jacques Pepin, but you have to have a reason for writing what you do, an awareness of what you like and don't like and why.  Some kind of an observation or perspective on a food matter.  These are the kinds of things that will draw more people than your Aunt Gertrude (who reads all your stuff!) to be interested.

And now, I'm sure people are going to hate me or something, because I said all of that simply to set up a few words that were rattling through my brain about onions.  Whoever has read this far can judge whether or not I adhered to my own self-imposed expert rules.

The Whole Thing About Liking/Not Liking Onions

Almost everyone starts out as a kid not liking onions.  It's something about their texture, it can be kind of "papery" in a weird way.  Certainly, if your mom or whoever was the cook when you were growing up can really ruin your experience of onions by not cooking them properly or throwing them on badly cooked meat, especially if you're the type of kid like I was who also had a hard time liking red meat.  Fried onions can seem kind of slimy and weird.  The whole thing leaves you feeling like you'd be fine if you never ate another onion again.

But then, at least in my case, things happen as you get a little older.  You start noticing that nice, fresh, thinly sliced onion tastes pretty darn good on a cheeseburger.  In fact, onions and cheese tend to go together really well, "cheese and onion" is sort of a food institution.

You realize that red onions are delicious in salads, pasta, and on pizza.  In fact, if you're making roasted vegetables, they're really good by themselves.

And then, it happens:  someone serves you Roasted Cipollini Onions, which are the kind of thing that absolutely melts in your mouth.  The first time I had these, it was so good I nearly came unglued.  The way this dish is made, the onions have a sweet/savory nut-like flavor that can send you over the moon.  

Not everyone crosses the bridge from hating onions to liking them, they can almost be classified in that snooty category of foods thought of as "an acquired taste."  As a person who has made that jump, I can tell you that I feel a little more like a real adult, knowing that I have embraced onions as a culinary friend.