The Delicious Curse of the Onion

An onion’s scent is to this dieter’s abode as poorly applied polish is to a fingernail.

Alright — possibly a stretch…but go with me on this one.

Whenever I’m back on the dieting wagon, I tend to do a lot of vegetable-roasting in the oven. Asparagus, zucchini and, yes, onions. We dieting-folk (particularly those of us playing by Nutrisystem’s rules) are pretty much allowed to eat as much of these things as we want, without feeling guilty and seeing it reflected the next day on a) the scale or b) in the waistband of my pants. While I can eat others, these are my favorite veggies.

The catch is that…well, one of them’s an onion. When not fully cooked, it can be a pretty foul delicacy.

I roast other things like carrots, tomatoes, yellow bell peppers, the occasional sweet potato, eggplant, kale, mushrooms — even apples and pears. But roasting an onion is one of my favorites.

The problem is that whenever I specifically roast an onion, which I adore, the house reeks of caramelized oniony goodness for days. I opened windows, opened the back door, opened the patio doors, and nothing really helped with airing the place out like I hoped it would.

I roasted one on Friday night, and come Sunday evening I could still smell it. What’d I do? Nope, couldn’t wait a few more days for the lingering smell to depart. I decided I really wanted another onion tonight, as well as some mushroom-action all up in it. I wondered if it would be less stinky if I caramelized it on top of the stove in a big skillet with glass lid.

Nope. In fact, it was probably stinkier. But the concoction was really delicious atop my tasty Nutrisystem burger (oxymoron?).

Since the Friday night onion stench wasn’t fully gone, I got to wondering in the midst of my roasting: if I do up another onion, will the stench permeate the fabrics, carpeting and every inch of the house that much more since the original aroma hadn’t yet peaced out?

I pictured a fingernail that had a few coats of polish on it, each layer applied before the previous coat was fully dry. If this has ever happened to you, you know how it gets an icky, messy look. Negative points if it also forms little air bubbles that dry as your polish does.

Anyway, such is the air in the casa right now. It’s thick, it’s unattractive and I wish I could start over.

Maybe a fingernail wasn’t the best thing to compare onion stink to. My point is that when something is at once both sweet and pungent, and when it lingers for as long as onion-stink does, one can’t help but wonder if there’s a layering effect that makes the smell that much more difficult to get rid of.

Probably not. But I’m not going to lie — I intentionally didn’t bring my dry cleaning inside tonight because, since I picked it up to have in time for some work travel up to SF on Wednesday, I didn’t want to smell like a ripe, caramelized onion for the first time I meet my clients.

Yes, we’re breaking bread over lunch and, yes, I probably could pass off my funk as either airplane-odor or taxi scent. But knowing that I won’t have to is key in this case.

Tonight I (and others, I’m sure) am thankful that I don’t also incorporate a garlic clove into my onion mess. I’m thankful it’s just the onion and mushrooms cohabitating like two stinky hippies. I’m thankful that I don’t have a roommate other than the cat (who, granted, retreats from the kitchen and stays a safe distance away when said onion roasting is occurring), because if I did, I’d surely have to find another equally-delicious-yet-less-stinky veggie to fill up on.

Such is the delicious curse of the onion.

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