ABC to XYZ in Foods: Onions and Cooking Oils

French onion soup is one of many delicious dishes that feature the uber-acidic onion. File photo
Bette Banjack

ONIONS – Have a strong and pungent odor, which becomes sweet when cooked. Cooking the onion gives it a crisp texture.

Onions are made up of fleshy layers with an inner core. Scallions and green onions are harvested at an early stage of the growth of onions.

Onions date back to 5,000 B.C. alongside figs and dates. In 1493, Christopher Columbus introduced the onion to North America while on a trip to Haiti.

In early Egyptian burials, onions were placed in the eye sockets of the dead. It was believed the strong scent of onions would bring breath back to the dead. Later on, in the Middle Ages, onions were so important, they were used to pay the rent. Onions were often given as gifts during the Middle Ages.

Onions are used worldwide. They are rarely eaten on their own but instead used as a side dish or a part of a recipe. It is considered to be the cheapest and most widely available vegetable.

We all know that peeling onions will make you cry. This is due to the fact that when the cells are broken open, gases escape. When the gases (sulfuric acid) reach the eyes, tears are produced. Chilling the whole onion and the knife you use helps prevent inflammation and tearing of the eyes.

Sue’s Onion Soup

(A killer soup originated with my friend, Sue Kuhn)

• 4 large white onions, sliced thin*

• ½ pound butter or margarine

• 2 cans beef broth

• 1 can beef consommé

• light sprinkling of garlic powder

• shredded Mozzarella cheese

• bread

Saute onions in butter/margarine until just tender. Add garlic powder as cooking.

In a large pot or slow cooker, add beef broth and beef consommé. Bring to a slow slimmer and add onions to the liquid.

The secret of this onion soup is to simmer the entire mixture for 24 hours. You can cook it several hours at a time, but it does need to be cooked for a long time.

Place in serving bowls and sprinkle with cheese; if you cover the bowls for a short time, the cheese will melt from the heat of the soup. Serve with a crusty or dark bread.

*Slice the onions with an electric meat cutter; it makes nice thin slices and saves your fingers. Just make sure that you know how to use an electric meat slicer.

OILS FOR COOKING - Are in a liquid state at room temperature. There are many types of edible cooking oils.

Oil is easily flavored by immersing it with aromatic herbs, spices and seasonings. Garlic and onions preserved in oil need to be watched closely, as they can become rancid. Currently, olive oil is the most popular in cooking and using directly on foods such as salads.

There are many different types of vegetable oil: along with olive oil, there is soybean oil, canola oil, corn oil, safflower oil and peanut oil, to name a few. A favorite oil of mine is sesame oil. Sesame oil is to flavor food and not to cook with.

Let me hear from you - banjack303@verizon.net.

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Good Food for a Good Life!