It’s Time to Face Your Tears

Onions are the mortal enemy of facial orifices.

The horror of chopping into a particularly pungent onion is familiar to us all. One minute you’re looking classy in your nicest apron and the next moment you are weeping profusely over the cutting board. You can barely breathe. Your upper lip is covered in snot. Rubbing your eyes makes it ten times worse. You’re overwhelmed by pain and you can’t see, let alone think clearly, so you throw your face under a running faucet and scream like the Browns just won the Superbowl. And now your dinner guests are slowly backing out of your house. The whole thing is just so embarrassing.

There are no two ways about it. Onions hurt. They burn. They sting. Every time you slice, chop or dice an onion, you rip open thousands of cells, stirring up a noxious potion of previously inert chemical compounds. The chief ingredient in this potion is a little molecule called thiopropanal sulfoxide, and it is uniquely prepared to crawl in your nostrils and set fire to your eyes.

But onions are also the most important ingredient in cooking.

Take onions off your shopping list and the number of meals you can make dwindles into nothingness. Soup is off the menu. Give up on most sauces. Forget about Mexican food and Mediterranean food and French food and Italian food and everything at your office potluck. The onion’s capacity to be simultaneously sweet and deeply savory is something more than important. At this point, it is essential to the human experience.

What I’m trying to tell you is, you’re gonna have to live with onions, tears be damned.

For centuries, people have dreamed up life hacks that would enable them to pleasantly coexist with this painful ingredient. I present you with just a few of these, uh, genius innovations:

  • light a candle
  • cut off the stem before cutting off the root
  • chew on bread
  • let the onion soak in cold water
  • leave a banana peel in the vicinity of the cutting board
  • don’t open your mouth
  • sharpen your knife
  • just leave the sink running (now what could this even hope to accomplish?)
  • hold a lit match between your teeth while you chop (I assume the crippling fear of burning your face off makes you forget that you’re chopping anything at all)

If you have a lot of free time and limited self-respect, by all means, try every trick on the list. But it is plain to me that none of these homespun remedies can dry our tears. There is one, and only one, honorable tool that will deliver you from your humiliating root vegetable buffoonery.


It’s time to don a pair of onion goggles

Science proves that there is no better way to combat thiopropanal sulfoxide than isolating your eyeballs in their own little pockets of clean air. And guess what? Creating eyeball sized pockets of clean air is precisely what swimming goggles are designed to do. Onion goggles don’t just combat the burn, they make it disappear.

Now maybe you’re not convinced. Maybe you are insecure about bringing swimwear into the kitchen. Maybe you’re hilariously dumb and think you could just cut an onion like an adult and shut your eyes for thirty seconds. Get real man. No one is that tough.

This is my plea to you: just try it once. Go to the sporting goods store and buy a ten dollar pair of goggles. Put them on and start cooking spaghetti sauce and tell me you don’t feel like an absolute god. Everyone around you is getting misty, but you are just CHOPPING LIKE A FREAKING BOSS.

Join me, friends, in the onion goggle revolution.

You don’t know what it is like to be truly alive until you stare down an onion and the onion blinks first.

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