The humble onion, while tasty, really shits me. Once they’re all cooked up they’re so harmless and delicious. It’s the raw form I have problems with. And I’m not talking about the crying, I can handle the crying, in fact I quite enjoy the crying, it makes me feel all melodramatic and fuzzy inside. I just hate how one small touch of an onion and its stinkiness sinks into your fingers. The pores soak it up like red wine to expensive carpet. And no amount of soap and scrubbing seems to get that smell off your skin.
Raw onions also trigger serious flashbacks. One whiff and I’m back at the dinner table and my sister is sitting across from me and we both have tears in our eyes.
— We don’t want to eat the icecream, Muuum.
— Eat the bloody icecream! There’s nothing wrong with it
— I’m telling you Mum, it tastes funny.
— I’ll give you funny in a minute.
— I will plunge this spoon into my heart if you make us go on.
It all started with the margarine. It had been on special for 99 cents a tub at Woolies, so we had 8 tubs of it in the freezer. One morning I gnashed into my vegemite toast and almost choked in disgust. Vegemite is a pretty domineering kind of flavour, but something about the margarine was the purest evil. Margarine isn’t supposed to taste like anything, it’s just the essential sludge for the vegemite to melt into. But this margarine tasted faintly savoury. I whinged to Mum but she commanded me to “EAT!”.
Months passed and we slowly made our way through the margarine stockpile. By then we complained bitterly that it tasted like “something had gone feral in the tub”. Then came the chocolate chip cookies. We’d made a double batch yonks ago so we had to put some away in the freezer. When we finally ate them, it was like swallowing death.
To this day I still go pale at the sight of a cookie. One expects a mouthful of buttery chocolately goodness, but these cookies had surely been marinating in a footballer’s armpit. The putrid after taste lingered for days. You’d think Mum would have believed us after we rolled around the kitchen floor clutching our stomachs for a full hour. The Vile Taste had penetrated almighty TUPPERWARE for heaven’s sake. If evil could invade solid, practical yet overpriced plasticware, surely the end of humanity was nigh.
But instead, we were forced to continue eating weird-tasting peas and pizza and lambchops, fresh from Satan’s icebox. It’s been well documented that I come from a family of tight-arsed waste-not-want-not bargain hunters. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the source of the problem encompassed all these qualities. When even the family dog refused to eat a rather pungently flavoured lamb roast, Mum finally admitted there was something wrong. I was sent in to investigate.
It was one of those massive chest freezers, big enough to fit a whole cow if it so pleased you. I felt like a deep-sea diver, legs flailing as I plunged down, scouring the ocean floor for ancient shipwrecks. The deeper down and closer to the stinky source I got, the more I wish I really did have some sort of oxygen device. Finally, I found it, stuck to the bottom. An innocent-looking plastic bag. But stuffed to the hilt with chopped raw onions.
“Oh! I forgot about those!” said Mum sheepishly.
Never one to resist a freebie, Mum had been given the onions at a school fete, leftovers from the sausage sizzle. She’d thrown them into the freezer For Future Use, and hadn’t given them another thought until long after their evil scent had invaded every last bit of food in the freezer and bludgeoned our tastebuds.
She was going to make us keep eating the remaining six loaves of bread (on special, $1.20), but we went on a hunger strike until she relented. Let this be a warning to you kiddies, onions are the devil’s vegetable.