Thursday, July 12, 2007

Onion Tears



Onion Tears


The onions make me cry - twice.


The first tears come

as I slice their solid flesh

into curved white fingers.

I know that a candle flame

will burn away volatile oils

released by the sharp knife

and rising toward my eyes.

But I forgot

and now it is too late.

I can only stop the tears by

finishing the task.


I wash my hands,

and splash cool water into my eyes

rinsing away the tears.

Then I stir the onions

over low heat

with a little oil

and a dash of salt

(this time not from my eyes).


I let them cook

while I turn my attention

to foods of a friendlier persuasion,

only occasionally

giving them a stir

as they turn from

bright white

to a duller hue

gradually

becoming more yellow

then darker

around the edges,

their sharp smell

mellowing

as they cook,

until finally

their soft, squishy

earthy-bronze color

tells me

they are

finally

the sweet

caramelized

almost-jam

that brings me

tears of delight

when I eat them.


[inspired by the task of "melting" onions to put on a rustic onion tart for this weekend's potluck.]

17 comments:

Clare said...

I love sauted onions and I could smell them cooking as I read your poem! Delicious! And your crying twice was really clever.

...deb said...

Yum! You capture the delight of these sweets nicely (Walla Wallas are at the farmers' markets here, tippee!)

sister AE said...

Thanks, Clare. I was working on a different poem entirely and this one insisted it had to come first!

Thanks, ...deb. I had two large Vidalias in my mix, which does add to the sweetness.

Holly Mac said...

Gosh, I never knew onions could seem so sexy! And I don't even like onions. ;) Nice work!

Crafty Green Poet said...

I can taste the onions here!

Beaman said...

Not sure why but my eyes started watering when reading your poem. ;) Nicely written!

gautami tripathy said...

NO one ever wrote such a beautiful onion poem. I could smell and taste them from your poem.

sister AE said...

Holly Mac - Thank you. And I really did like your "no" poem.

Crafty - Thanks.

Beaman - I was worried about that, power of suggestion and everything...

Gautami - I am flattered. But onions are one of the foods I could never give up.

Rob Kistner said...

Very engaging… an enjoyable read... ;)

tumblewords said...

Ode to an Onion - :) My mouth is tearing, now, as well. Tasty.

sister AE said...

Rob - thank you.

Tumblewords - thanks and enjoy.

Maria said...

Lovely poem; but must admit that the only thing I hate more than onions are mushrooms.

My mother used to hold a match stick in between her lips as she sliced onions. Not sure if that worked or not since I am always the one that will do anything not to have to cut them.

sister AE said...

Hi, Maria,
Well, that just leaves more onions for me! I admit I am pretty fond of mushrooms, too. But I don't like vinegar very much, nor mayonnaise.

Michele said...

What a wonderfully descriptive poem! You have a gift for creating beauty out of something simple, there is a word for people like you: poet.

Onions also make me cry, and no trick I have ever been offered has stopped the tears. Yet, they are worth it not only for the sake of a delicious onion but for the glorious scent of an onion cooking.

Thank you so much for stopping by the "post of the week."

Enjoy the rest of you day and have a wonderful tomorrow!

sister AE said...

Thank you, Michele. Your site is great for introducing folks to each other and to new ideas. And such fun too!

BreadBox said...

SisterAE: a lovely poem, on a lovely theme --- and it echoes the way that I feel about one of my favourite dishes: very similar to an onion tart, it is a focaccia dough baked with caramelized onions spread on top, sprinkled with a little balsamic vinegar and drizzled with good olive oil.

N.

sister AE said...

Breadbox - thanks. Yours sounds good, too.