“Yeah,” Dex said, tear ducts unleashing. “Onions just…hurt. They…ah, fuck.” […]
“Goodness,” Mosscap said. It picked up one of the chopped slivers between two fingertips, examining carefully. “It must be very delicious.”
-Becky Chambers, A Psalm For The Wild-Built
I like cooking onions. I like the papery texture of the skins. I like how the layers come apart, and the curving way they fit together. I like how the onions roll around on the counter. And yes, I like the taste, but I don’t think the taste’s all of it for me. I like the whole onion-cooking.
And then there’s the crying. A friend told me you can cry a little less if you put the onions in the freezer for a few minutes before you cut them, and it seems to work, but I don’t do it anymore. At first I usually didn’t remember. Now—I don’t know. I just don’t. It’s not that the sting of my eyes is pleasant, not that, while I’m fumbling for the sink to wash my hands and then splash my face, I’m thinking this is delightful, but something in it is delightful. The stinging of my eyes is part of it. Beyond whether it’s a part that I like or don’t like, it’s part of the all this while I’m cooking, and I don’t mind it. I kinda like it. I like cooking onions.
This isn’t always true. Sometimes I spill something across the floor and I’m angry, frustrated at the lentils or at me for being so stupid I spilled them. But thinking about onions, I’m sitting with the kind of experience that doesn’t mind parts that sting.