It’s National Onion Rings Day. One of my best memories of onions in my youth came about when I stayed overnight with my oldest sister and her new husband. I think I was eleven. People did a lot more cooking at home back then. We got some really big sweet onions at the grocery store. G. cut them into 3/4 inch slices, dipped them in batter and fried them in a single layer in an electric frying pan that held boiling oil. They were soooo good. The onion still had lots of flavor, the batter was light, and we ate them as each batch was ready. It was a long slow process, but doing it together and getting our fill is part of why it’s so memorable. I also remember thinking it was a lot of work and quite messy.
These days when you order onion rings in a restaurant, they are mostly breading, very little onion and cooked to death. I guess I’ll never find a ring that lives up to the memory of the home made ones I shared with my sister.
I have always been an onion lover. There is a family story that my father went to get the box of onion sets to plant the garden when I was four and the box was gone. He wasn’t happy. The explanation goes, my babysitter had peeled them and I had eaten them all. That I don’t remember doing, but I wouldn’t doubt it.
I attended my 25th high school reunion and one of my classmates said to me, “You know what I remember about you? Onion sandwiches.” She was right. I ate an onion sandwich most days before I got on the bus to go to the afternoon session of kindergarten. I wonder if all the onions I have eaten have helped me stay healthy over the years.
Another time I ate all the onions was when I had lunch out with my aunt. There was a jar of chopped onions on every table because it was summer and people ate them like relish on their hot dogs and burgers. This particular jar was so sweet with just the right amount of tang, that my aunt and I ate them with a spoon. We were surprised when at the end of the meal, the jar was empty. We felt a little guilty.
If you love onions like I do may I suggest you make your own onion rings at least once. While eating them picture the idolized big sister making them for her little sister. I bet they’ll be the best you have ever had.