No smell announces the preparation of a meal better than the rich, sweet aroma of sautéing onions. It’s a humble staple of my pantry that I couldn’t do without. Luckily, I live in an area famous for its onions. I keep a special pair of blue swim goggles in my kitchen drawer for chopping the extremely pungent variety that grow in our region of New York State. Known as the Black Dirt, the fertile soil—a result of an ancient glacial lake—is rich in organic matter and sulfur. The latter gives our local onions their intense flavor and earns them a spot in farmer’s markets and supermarkets all over the Northeast.
Starting in April armies of bright green shoots march across the black dirt. By July, they’re standing tall. And in August the stalks wilt, their purpose served. In September the heady scent of onions pervades the air and the onion crates are stacked high in the fields, waiting to be stored or transported to market.
your beauty formed
petal by petal,
crystal scales expanded you
and in the secrecy of the dark earth
your belly grew round with dew.
Under the earth
and when your clumsy
green stem appeared,
and your leaves were born
in the garden,
the earth heaped up her power
showing your naked transparency,
and as the remote sea
in lifting the breasts of Aphrodite
duplicating the magnolia,
so did the earth
clear as a planet
round rose of water,
of the poor.
You make us cry without hurting us.
I have praised everything that exists,
but to me, onion, you are
more beautiful than a bird
of dazzling feathers,
heavenly globe, platinum goblet,
of the snowy anemone
and the fragrance of the earth lives
in your crystalline nature.
Great pics. Went out and got a white and red onion this morning from the garden, diced them up, cooked them in butter, and made a great omelet after reading your blog. thanks.
Had a girl who sat beside me in 6th grade whose father gave her onion sandwiches every time she had a cold. I’ll never forget her!
Senor Neruda is one of my heroes. What a pleasure to see this morning.
Glad you enjoyed it–me too!
I can just smell ’em!!
Marginally better than skunk, but equally over powering en masse.
I very much relate to the onion, for deep reasons…and hope someday to be a rosebud, unfolding layer by layer with aromas sweet and fragrant rather than harsh and bringing tears.
Thanks for the beautiful post,
But don’t forget, onions are so sweet and delicious when handled just right.
Thanks so much for this excellent reminder. ☺
How lovely to see an appreciation of onions. They are so often overlooked, but they add so much to meals. The pictures are lovely. And thank you for the Neruda poem. I had no idea he had written about onions.
You are so welcome. Thanks for the nice comments.
Nice photos! Those onions look so fresh – I want to grab one and use it in a salad or a pot of soup. A lot of dishes would be so bland and boring without onions.
I once met someone who was allergic to onions. I felt very sorry for him!
Absolutely loved this blog, and the poem you found to go with it just perfect. I’ve been thinking a lot about strawberries lately but am nowhere near a strawberry field.
Onions are my favorite food. Would love to sample these pungent New York ones, though our midwest onions are mighty fine. Neruda has it exactly right.
Onions! What a delight. I can’t cook without them, or do a salad for that matter. But that black, black soil. How I long for it in my allotment. I can feel seedlings trembling with excitement as they grow in that lovely stuff. I however, have claggy, grey, rotting down fossil volcanic ash to grow things in. It’s a big challenge – especially to onions that more often than not rebel, and grow no bigger than marbles. Hey ho.
Thank you all for the great comments. I forgot to include a link to a great recipe for onion pie. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/24/dining/242orex.html?ref=dining&_r=0
I love the fragrance of onions frying, such a wonderful smell. I’ve never had to resort to the swim goggles – yet. I’m guessing these must be very powerful to need goggles! It’s amazing how different they all taste, and surprising how many people don’t often try different varieties. I find red onions are very attractive in salads but look dreadful if you put them into a pale creamy coloured soup and blend it all, they just turn everything a sludge colour – still tastes the same though! Thanks for the recipe link, it reminds me of a quiche. I do love a cheese and onion quiche! 😀
We even have a raw onion eating contest in our area. If that doesn’t bring tears to your eyes . . . Thanks for reading!
Very well captured – onions, love the taste… 😀
Just simple and elementary things but so nicely portrayed. I remember this poem by Neruda, it is a nice one. He really had a way to express love for all things through words. Regards. Jose
I appreciate your comments. Yes, I couldn’t begin to compete with Neruda in the poetry department, so I gave him the last word on onions.