4 Jul /14


Onion - Word of the day - EVS Translations
Onion – Word of the day – EVS Translations

The onion may seem like a humble garden vegetable, but it has enjoyed an international life which has spanned several millennia and, at certain points in history, a status amongst civilizations that leaves other vegetables looking pale in comparison. Its remains have been found in Bronze Age settlements that date back to 5000 BC, so it has long been a solid favourite of the human diet.

Perhaps its golden era was when the Egyptians worshipped it for its size and shape which symbolized eternal life and used it in burials with onion remains found in the eye sockets of the Pharaoh king Ramesses IV. It went on to be used to firm up the muscles of Roman gladiators and then as a mediaeval aphrodisiac.

The onion even makes an appearance in Chaucer’s fourteenth century literary classic “Canterbury Tales” when the corrupt Summoner states, “Wel loued he garlek, oynons and eek lekes”. This quote illustrates the variety of spellings for onion over the centuries, and other examples include hunion, ungeon, and even union. Today’s spelling seems to have come in to use by about 1700.

Despite its exciting career as a favourite vegetable of mankind, these days it enjoys more modest applications in recipes such as French onion soup, Spanish omelets, onion rings and onion bhajis. Next time you find your eyes welling up with tears as you cut it up and to put in the kids’ cottage pie consider that perhaps, without knowing, you are weeping for your savory friend and its golden days of splendor passed.

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