Bitch on the Blog

November 4, 2016

Know your onions

Filed under: Amusement,Food — bitchontheblog @ 14:12

As posts go my last was a flop.

Before I threw myself on the line yesterday evening I had sliced an onion, nay two, very finely AND I did NOT cry. My tear ducts were as unmoved as Salome’s when John’s head was presented to her on a silver platter.

Which made me take note.

The absence of eye water throwing up my existential question, namely, how many years and onions it takes before you stop crying. I did a quick calculation, more of which in a moment.

Magpie proceeds to tell me – at length – how to cut an onion. I didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry. I slept it over. In the morning Ramana – as only assorted Asians can – advised me to pay someone to do my dirty work for me. Leaving aside that I enjoy cutting onions and making my own bed, it shows you a cultural difference. On a finer note he adds that – having cut many an onion – I should be able to AFFORD someone to do it for me. My dear Ramana, I can barely afford myself. Never mind anyone else.

So, working on a rough average per day and taking the years into account, my mental arithmetic serving me well, I’d say so far over my lifetime I have diced, cubed, sliced, grated, quartered and generally battled and enjoyed doing so somewhere between 14,600 and 19,900 onions.






  1. The tendency to induce crying is related to the species of onion and its condition at the time of slicing. You should use Archimedes method to get a density estimate prior to slicing and carefully note the species and the exact number of tears produced.

    Comment by Looney — November 4, 2016 @ 14:27 | Reply

    • Yes, good old Archimedes. He enhanced my life (not so much that of some of my teachers) many years ago. I particularly liked his name. It smacks of authority. Like Alexander. Or Pythagoras. And Albert – one of my favourite calculations being “Pee mal Daumen” (Pi times thumb) giving you a rough measure of the trials of life ahead of you.

      Anyway, whilst able to multi task like the next woman, I am not so precious as to measure my tears. They may flow freely, unencumbered and form their own little salt puddles.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — November 4, 2016 @ 16:24 | Reply

    • “Breathe through your mouth and stick your tongue out.” That’s disgusting. And hard work. And what about someone coming into the kitchen? In fact, come to think of it, cutting onions is a sure fire way to keep everyone OUT of the kitchen.

      Other than that: Thank you, my dear Ramana. I know you are looking after my best interests.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — November 4, 2016 @ 16:14 | Reply

  2. Did you know that if you keep onions in the fridge they don’t make you cry when you cut them.?

    Comment by Frances — November 4, 2016 @ 15:38 | Reply

    • Leaving aside that one shouldn’t keep onions in the fridge, what’s a tear among friends?


      Comment by bitchontheblog — November 4, 2016 @ 16:07 | Reply

  3. I grow RED Onions, which don’t seem to provoke either weeping or the gnashing of teeth. I don’t think I can match your almost 20,000 onions.

    Comment by Cro Magnon — November 4, 2016 @ 16:39 | Reply

    • Yes, my preferred are red too. Not least because they are RED. However, shallots (benign) and Spanish (huge and relatively benign) have their place too. Baby onions (the pickling kind aka grelots) I pour boiling water over to loosen their skin – no tears shed there. But then there is the ordinary white onion (currently £0.29/lb at Lidl) which Robert Carrier prescribes to when making his Soupe a l’oignon. Never mind, it’s all in day’s labour of love and its work.

      You can’t match my “20,000? You are having me on, Cro. Considering that you are a little older than me, cooking on a regular basis and given to making your own chutneys, preserves, I’d have thought you are many a peel ahead of me.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — November 4, 2016 @ 17:15 | Reply

  4. A little bird told me you have a sister called Petra ?

    Comment by John — November 4, 2016 @ 17:22 | Reply

  5. I’m mainly a red onion user as well – but I just wear those tears, if they should arrive…annoying but better than slicing through ones’ finger with a sharp knife

    Comment by cedar51 — November 4, 2016 @ 19:36 | Reply

  6. I hate chopping onions so much that I outsource the job to my kids or my sweet son in law when he is around or else I don’t use onion at all. I might have chopped 2000 at the very most

    Comment by Kylie — November 4, 2016 @ 19:59 | Reply

  7. Oh well…. surprisingly enough it is only recently that the general public seem to have been told how to cut onions in order to reduce tears… but how many of us actually learn in a commercial kitchen? Thus my use of the BBC instruction set. Oh well……

    Here’s a question….. apart from refraining from consum[ption how can one be less anti social and cut down on emitted odour when partaking of garlic?

    Comment by magpie11 — November 4, 2016 @ 20:19 | Reply

    • get your friends to eat it with you!

      Comment by Kylie — November 4, 2016 @ 20:30 | Reply

      • I wasn’t thinking of friends so much as strangers on public transport or the street.

        Comment by magpie11 — November 4, 2016 @ 20:33 | Reply

        • One can take consideration for others too far, Magpie. Public transport, strangers, on the street? They will have their own stink to contemplate.


          Comment by bitchontheblog — November 4, 2016 @ 21:06 | Reply

          • I have excrutiating memories of the stink of garlic on the underground whenever I used it as a youth…. I didn’t know then what it was…. cannot bear the idea of infliting it upon others.

            Comment by magpie11 — November 5, 2016 @ 21:07 | Reply

    • My dear Magpie, it’s simple. You only partake in garlic when a) every one else does or b) you don’t care.

      However, if you do care without wishing to forgo garlic chew a lot of fresh (flat leaf) parsley, afterwards. Make sure it doesn’t stick between your teeth.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — November 4, 2016 @ 21:04 | Reply

      • had heard of using parsely…… was once give free samples of parsley oil capsules for deodorant use…. don’t know if they worked or not…. no one ever emntioned it.

        Comment by magpie11 — November 5, 2016 @ 21:13 | Reply

  8. Use a sharp knife and the problem will be mostly solved. I always run my knife trough a sharpener if I am cutting onions. I have not had cying issues with onion in 25-30 years.

    Comment by Chuck McConvey — November 4, 2016 @ 22:37 | Reply

    • Well, Chuck, being a man does have advantages. Your skin (literally not metaphorically) is thicker; therefore, possibly, your tear ducts less likely to leak. And, yes, a sharp knife is crucial. It certainly hurts less than cutting yourself with a blunt one.


      Comment by bitchontheblog — November 5, 2016 @ 17:58 | Reply

    • Cutting tools should always be kept sharp…. learned that from my father. He would all but guarantee that I would not cut myself with a (correctly) sharpened tool always provided that I used it in the correct manner.

      Comment by magpie11 — November 5, 2016 @ 21:11 | Reply

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