The Amazing, Crazy Crying Onion

We held a sacred moment of deep reverence in our kitchen tonight before slicing into the last proud orb from our 2011 onion harvest.  Yes, the Dorata di Parma has some white bunching cousins still in the ground, and I’m beginning to see their wild relations sprout throughout town, but it won’t be the same without our delicious Italian friend at table.

I’ve heard told that it is wise to notice which plants come to you as these green beings have something that you require.  And while onions have surely flavored many a meal in my lifetime, it wasn’t until I left the workplace and started cooking from scratch that they truly entered my life.  In the kitchen, I have learned, it all begins with the onion.  She is at the heart of so many of our dishes: refried beans, chicken-veggie pie, butternut squash soup, potato soup, salsa, milk gravy, hashbrowns, and a delicious nokedli and chicken paprikash that summons the spirit of my Hungarian PopPop.

Physically, when I eat an onion, I feel cleansed, like the energy in my cells is being scoured.  Turns out, I am being scrubbed clean on many levels: onions are power healers. 

Their thiosufinates have antimicrobial properties, and are effective against many bacteria, including Salmonella and E. coli.  Their sulfides may lower blood pressure and their flavonoids are proven to promote cardiovascular health (artery scrubbing!).  Over the years and across many cultures, onions have been used to treat colds, coughs, asthma and bronchitis.  There is evidence that they can reduce the risk of stomach cancer and the development of tumors in the colon (1).

So, yeah, physically, it feels pretty good to eat onions.  But I also dig them for a more subtle quality.  Much as the laundry line started me on a path of liberation from corporate mercantilism, so too is Allium cepa an ally.

Perhaps it is no more than the power of realizing that these golden, green, white and red orbs are the earth’s true jewels.  The delicious joy of having arrived in a place of great security.  For I know that with them in my garden, in my kitchen, in my body, I am rich.

And perhaps it’s because onion layers form a sphere within a sphere, a manifestation of my favorite symbol, the lemniscate, the figure-eight shaped curve of infinity.  Going in as far as they come out.  Comfortable sitting with paradox.  As Mollie Katzen, the author of The Moosewood Cookbook, writes, “the Ancient Egyptians took an oath of office with their right hand on an onion, believing it to represent eternity and ultimate truth” (2).

In this world it seems to me there are certain things that shine brighter than others.  Sign posts.  Affirmations I’m on the path.  I don’t know, probably sounds silly, but I’m thinking it’s a wise move to follow Allium cepa.

Oh, yes, and before I forget – our Philly Steak & Cheese was extra yummy tonight with half of our last golden orb.  Perfect with a beer.  Salute, dear onion!  The brown earth waits for your seeds.

© Jennifer S. and, 2012.


(1) via Health Benefits of Onions.

(2) via Mollie Katzen Online.



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