The Terrifying Sound of Slicing Onions.
I am terrified by the sound of onions being chopped. It isn’t a rational or responsible reaction. This vegetable is a source of goodness in the world. The aroma in its translucent, sauteed form is welcoming and homey.
An onion, by itself, is inspirational. But if I hold one in my hand it unleashes a torrent of want. The sound of a knife slicing through skin, then layer, and its final slap against the cutting board is one that I perform hundreds of times a week. I volunteer at a soup kitchen and this brown-skinned orb seems to be at the center of every meal.
Every week, without fail, they are chopped. They go into soups, burgers, tacos, and varied concoctions. When I think about struggling local families, I hold an onion. If my thoughts turn to overseas wars and families being driven from their homes its wafting smell is where they would like to head. The answer to hungry children is held in this layered orb.
It is possible that many people don’t share the same affection for this colorfully skinned food. The first reaction to it is often stinging tears. There is an intense bouquet that dwells on your clothes and hands after cutting and dicing bushels of them. It wasn’t meant for love at first sight. Its biggest value comes at its final stop.
The culinary reaction of its complexities unfolds in welcoming mouths. It soothes hungry minds and bodies. The onion solves quite a lot of problems. However, with each one solved more seem to spring up.
Like the onion itself, each layer brings something new and unexpected. Every week I am chopping more of them. A year ago it was four quarts. The following week was six. The next week eight. Three months ago we were up to 24 quarts a week of onions. Monday evenings are spent preparing ingredients for the cooking done on Tuesday. I have been part of a small team of people that feed those in need of a healthy meal in our neighborhood for over a year. I had no idea how many hungry families lived within a few miles of my home.
All the kitchen volunteers find this incredibly rewarding. We shed a lot of tears while performing this task but it is rare that people do not show up to do their part. We are the lucky ones. This is our small way of giving…