Thursday, November 11, 2010

Onions and Me

I cook with onions a lot. And, I usually buy my onions in those bulk bags at the warehouse store, which means that I have gigantic onions, sliced in half, and stored in plastic in my fridge more often than not.

One of my best dishes, one that my family requests often, is homemade French Onion Soup in the crockpot. I love this soup. It is warm, filling, flavorful, and light all at the same time. I lost nearly 20 pounds last winter, in large part because we were filling up on this soup at least once a week.

But, before I get the yummy soup, I first have to peel and slice about 10 pounds of onions and saute them for about thirty minutes. This process is never easy, and always, always leads to, what Princess calls, "juicy eyes." In layman's terms, I cry. I love the taste of onion soup, but the act of cooking it causes me painful tears, and no amount of "kitchen tricks" has ever helped that. And, still, I keep on making the soup, because the end product is so worth the pain and suffering that goes into it.

What does all of this have to do with anything?

I'm going through my own sort of onion-soup processing these days. For the past few years, I've alternated between trying to work through a whole slew of emotional sludge and stuffing it all in a drawer, to be ignored indefinitely. Of course, the "ignore it indefinitely" option, while easier in the short run, has its pitfalls. Sooner or later, that drawer just won't stay closed, and out pops all the stuff that I've been cramming in there for 38 years. What a mess that makes!

Which leads me here. At the beginning. Step one, you might even call it. Admit that I am powerless over the stuff.

A very wise, very dear friend said to me recently, "When it finally hurts enough, you'll go to a meeting. Have you gotten there yet? Does it hurt enough yet?" Though I could not say it aloud, the answer in my heart was, "yes."

So, I did it. I went to a meeting. I made that first, deep slice into the onion. The tears fell. Some of the papery husk hit the floor, but most of it remained on the onion, clinging fast.

I keep reminding myself that the onion soup is worth it. Push through the slicing and sauteeing. Wipe the tears and keep going.

It will be worth it in the end.