Sunday, 3 May 2020

A willing rapscallion averse to chopping onions


Chop! Chop!
The onion is a versatile vegetable that always makes an appearance in my cooking. The processing of the onion is, however, a fraught process of looking for convenience over tearing eyes when chopping them.
By the time I got the chopping of onions down to an art, I was walking down Oxford Street in London and at one of the entrances to Selfridge’s a man was demonstrating the use of a mandolin. This was long before we had a QVC television channel where someone told you everything you could do with a saucer, absent of the teacup. I watched it happen.
Perfecting the chops
We exchanged £15 for a mandolin and that was probably that last time I chopped onions with a knife for a very long time. I just never found any more fun in manually chopping onions, whilst using a mandolin allowed me to prepare onions I could use for days, by chopping large quantities and keeping the rest in the fridge.
That also presented a few other issues, the onions that were not chopped, kept in the larder for weeks either shrivelled or began to bud, if I had a garden, I should have planted the budding onions. Along with the ones that took on the rot, they all ended up in the bin. I was wasting onions.
Yet, I do like fresh scallions or spring onions, I would readily chop them, but they are never good after a day of storage.
Outsourcing the chopping
Then, the other day, I was in my local and saw a pack of prepared vegetables Diced Onion going for a song. To that point, my life of chopping onions became a closed chapter. Where I could not find prepared vegetables, I was the very last resort if I could find no one to help me out. In Cape Town, Brian readily offered that service. I remember when I asked Kola, he came to some harm whilst using the mandolin or the knife, I think.
My quest for conveniently pre-prepared onions have not ended though, as in the ethnic shop, a few weeks ago, I found large bags of Crispy Fried Onions, I bought two, though what I would want flour, salt and oil in my onions before use in cooking somewhat escapes me. The only advantage is I do not have to freeze it like I do the Diced Onion or see the budding of fresh bulbs.
Now, some might dismiss this all as being lazy, I guess there are times you do not want to be bothered with certain things. Chopping onions is, for now, something I can do without.

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