A couple of weeks ago, a good friend gave me a box of perfect vidalia onions. She had been given two boxes. She said, “These onions were so good; I wanted to give them to someone who would truly appreciate them. I first thought of you.” I was delighted, “yes, I’d love some vidalias.” They are exquisite. I’ve been making delicate sautes, grilling them, dicing them into salads, and marveling at their sweetness. I passed a few on to others that both would fully appreciate the onions as a culinary matter and also know my friend, who is a former co-worker.
Last night I went to take class at Willow Street and was talking a little with the work study students at the desk after class before heading home. “Would you like some onions?” asked one of the work study students, who does great work with the Fresh Farm Markets around town. “Oh, how lovely, no, no thank you,” I replied, “A friend just gave me a box of vidalia onions and I have shallots, baby leeks, spring onions, and garlic chives in my garden.” “I think you have enough in the allium family already,” she agreed, “would you like a cucumber?” “A cucumber? Yes, that would be great. I’ve only gotten one ripe one so far; they aren’t liking the cool wet.” She gave me a cucumber and a zucchini from a farm visit she had done that morning, which made my evening (I am so easily pleased).
This morning I wondered about these offers of onions. It is not as though it is a regular thing for me twice in a space of a couple of weeks to be given bounteous offers of exquisite onions. Did it mean something?
Onion comes from the same latin root as “union.” Unlike garlic, in whose family onions belong, onions grow a single, undivided bulb, which is the likely reason for the development of the word onion. From sketchy researching on the internet, I find onions are also the symbol of “good” and fullness — hence the onion domes in architecture. The ancient Egyptions thought the onion a symbol of eternity (layer upon layer of being) and truth. Yes, I like thinking these onions (those I took home and those that were gifted instead, no doubt, to some other appreciative soul) were meant to bring me to think of good, of union, of the eternal truth in gifts and shared pleasure in sharing delicious, healing, fresh food with friends.