The onion, now that's something else.
It's innards don't exist.
Nothing but pure onionhood fills this devout onionist.
Oniony on the inside,
onionesque it appears.
It follows its own daimonion
without our human tears.
Lines from "The Onion' written by the Polish poet, Wislawa Szymborska
about what was once described as a humble vegetable. Not any more. If
you and I know our onions, yes, the ones which come with a designer
tag, daimonion would be more the word, wouldn't it? But come to think
of it, onions are finally taking a breather that's long been due to
them. For aeons they have put the zing thing into our dishes, enhanced
the taste of our curries and have been a ubiquitous part of our
kitchens. It went without saying that potatoes and onions were there
by the basketful. From the grocer's stock to the sturdy kitchen tokri
that's an integral part of the kitchen furniture. Well, by the sound
of it (the price), nobody's going to buy them by the basketful these
days. I suppose onions have never had it so easy, watching life pass
by, and not feel for one single oniony moment that life has passed
Remember the first time you learned to cook? Recipes usually instructed
you to peel an onion, chop it, saute it, and everything just fell into
place. But, of course, you had to start with an onion! Later, along the
line, you grated it, roasted it, made white paste, made brown paste;
there was an entire onion world in the kitchen waiting to be explored.
Onions have been around for a long time. They have given shape to some
of the world's best architecture. In ancient times, onions were
believed to have occult and medicinal powers. If old home remedies are
to be believed, they have cured freckles, enhanced hair growth, warded
off diseases and cured common cold. Boiled onions are believed to take
care of worms in children and was supposed to purify the blood and cure
rheumatism. A raw onion cut in half and rubbed in a wasp sting was
believed to cure it instantly.
Every region has their favourite onion recipes. If the French have their
onion soup, the Russians have a thin gruel which is used in the healing
of wounds and fresh burns. But the wonders to what the onion can do to
the Indian curry is legion. If onions are to remain out of reach for the
common man, it would be the end of more than just a flavour, it would be
the end of a way of life. and flavours cannot be substituted. This is a
taste that lingers after you've savoured the dish; the smell remains
long after the meal is over and the guests gone. The aroma of fried onions
wafting through the neighbourhood tells you that someone's dal is being
given a final touch. The price of onions and the drastic cut that households
have imposed on themselves is much discussed these days. And if the
price soars further, I doubt if our kitchens would ever smell the
N.B.We all feel the pinch when prices of vegetables and other
essentials escalate. The other day while going through some of my
old writings I was struck by the irony of it all. I had put down
these thoughts on paper eleven years ago. And yet, these could've
been written today. The price of onions and potatoes have reached
an all-time high. Not good at all!
2 years ago