Tonawanda News — I hate onions.
I hate their taste. I hate their smell. I hate them raw. I hate them cooked.
I will not eat them in a box ... I will not eat them with a fox ... OK, well, you get what I mean.
All of the above is true, but I wonder sometimes if part of my distaste for the noxious root stems from the fact that chopping them is, for me, an hour-long descent into hell. Most people I know tear up when cutting onions. I dissolve.
My eyes burn and tear and eventually swell shut. My nose runs as its interior lining burns. Tasteful, eh? These symptoms can continue for hours, occasionally days. It might be psychosomatic in a way — I really don’t like onions — but a day or two ago I asked my husband to pick up a plain yellow onion at the store and my eyes and nose started to burn just thinking about it.
So, mostly, I make the aforementioned husband chop the darned onions if he wants them in a stew or soup or some other dish. But the division of time and labor in our house is such that sometimes I just have to wince, pull out a knife and do it. I’d use a gas mask if I could, but (1) I don’t have one and (2) it’s just not practical, so what’s a cook to do?
Well, Pinterest is just full of onion-chopping tips. If even one worked, it would be an experiment well-chosen. I bought a number of onions, planned on oniony beef stew for dinner one evening and grimly set forth.
I started with the most complicated tip. Take an onion. Peel it. Start with the bottom end, where the roots are. Cut a cone out, being sure to remove and pitch that entire section.
This supposedly removes the portion of the onion that contains all or most of the tear-producing agents. I did so, then started to chop.
And for a blessed few moments I was fine. The tears usually start immediately. Could it be? Had I lucked onto the holy grail of onion-cutting tips the first time? Then what was I going to do for a column?
Then my nose started burning. And my eyes. I was still out of luck.
I opened a window and kitchen vent and turned on the ceiling fan, then left to get things under control. Eventually, because I’m a glutton for punishment, I returned and started over.
Over the next few hours — because I needed frequent breaks — I tried the following onion-cutting Pinterest recommendations: I burned a candle right next to the chopping block. People swear by this one, but it made not a whit of difference to me. I breathed through my mouth instead of my nose. This made the inside of my mouth burn, too. I stuck an onion in the freezer five to 10 minutes before chopping it. Not only did this not work, the onion was slippery. Not good.
I chewed gum, which promptly tasted like a mint-onion hybrid. Eww. I held a piece of bread in my mouth — also eww. Nothing made a bit of difference.
Two tips I declined to test were to chop an onion under running water — which just seemed hazardous to a klutz like myself — and to wear goggles while chopping. Anything that restricts my vision while I have a knife in my hands just didn’t seem like a good idea.
Ultimately, I was 0-for-5 for onion-cutting tips. I might just be highly susceptible to the gas onions release when cut. Or maybe I’m a wimp. Either way, I’m just going to have to continue to deal with it when recipes call for onions, or make my husband do it.
But the best way I’ve found? I buy my onions pre-chopped.
Works like a charm.• WHAT: Pinterest tips for chopping onions without crying • DIFFICULTY: Easy • TIME: However long it takes you to chop an onion • RESULT: Your mileage may vary ... but not a one worked for me. Don't pin it. Jill Keppeler is a writer for the Tonawanda News. She can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @JillKeppeler.