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What's wrong with raw onions?

Why do some people (like Scot Conant) have an aversion to raw onions in a prepared dish?

Is it just the taste of raw onions, or is it some (unwritten?) culinary rule that's being violated?

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  1. They're so overpowering and strong!! And they last in your mouth for hours; sometimes even into the next day! Sometimes I can even smell them on my skin 24 hours later!!! They are simply TOO STRONG! - both when I eat them and later.....

    I can get away with eating bits of them if there's plenty of parsley or cilantro with them, but even then they stick with me for too long...

    EDIT: I forgot to mention the smell of them even in someone else's dish at the table...UGH.

    7 Replies
    1. re: sandylc

      I've been know to eat Vidalia's just like I would an apple.

      1. re: ipsedixit

        Oh, my! Do you get any kisses afterwards? :-P

      2. re: sandylc

        I'm your polar opposite....I crave raw onions! Eating an onion a day is pretty standard for me (unless I have to socialize, in which case I refrain).

        I mix chopped raw onions into salads, stir them into soups, beans and stews, or pile them onto toast with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. I never tire of raw onions, but then I love strong flavors in general. (I buy Tabasco sauce in gallon jugs, if that tells you anything.)

        1. re: BrooksNYC

          I once saw a chocolate covered onion on "Bizarre Foods" with Andrew Zimmern. Hmmmm, you might like that ;-)

          1. re: Tudor_rose

            a lady I used to work with brought in a plate of homemade chocolates on April 1 -- nobody checked the date, and bit into a plate full of chocolate-covered onions and pickles. One time I was not too upset that I was tied up on a phone call and didn't get any! :)

            1. re: sunshine842

              Whoa, that goes WAY beyond funny into sadistic!

              1. re: sandylc

                it was April Fool's Day. It was frigging hilarious. (it was also jarred onions - not fresh)

                Nobody got hurt; nobody got sick; nobody died; everyone laughed (particularly at the expressions as the realization his that this was not what you thought it was).

                Only problem is, it's a prank you can only pull once, because everyone remembers it for a long, long time.

      3. I have no idea who this Scot Conant is so perhaps he knows something I do not. I like onions in all forms...raw, sauteed, pickled, braised, etc. While I tend to prefer a raw mild onion such as a Maui onion or purple onion, I also enjoy the assertive taste of a raw white onion in chili or on a brat for example.

        Did this person state why they have an aversion to raw onion?

        1. The other day I made a parsley and shallot salad/relish that went very well with roast marrow bones. But all the ingredients in this salad had a strong taste - the parsley, capers (or cornichons in my case, lime juice), and it complemented this richness of the marrow.

          Conant most of often objected to cooks adding some red onion at the end, more as a garnish and visual accent, than an integral, well thought out ingredient.

          Rick Bayless usually rinses the minced onion that he includes in salsas. Through out Latin America they like a quick pickled red onion garnish, one where the sharpness of the onion is tempered with salt and lime juice.

          1. It varies from person to person -- and from one onion to the next.

            But they *can* be overpowering -- and some folks don't care for the stomach upset, bad breath, or the smell that does seem to come through some people's skin.

            To each their own.

            2 Replies
            1. re: sunshine842

              Agreed - it is definitely a personal taste thing.

              I really enjoy onions - DH loves them - you literally cannot put too much onion, cooked or raw on something that you are preparing for him.

              I can recall one, maybe two times when I have thought that raw onion was too much for a dish, but I think those were likely particularly strong onions.

              1. re: sunshine842

                When I was younger, raw or even slightly cooked onions really upset my stomach. I'm better with it now, but the taste of course reminds me of the old days so still a big turn off. I was always annoyed that places thought nothing of throwing into almost everything tons of finely diced raw onions and raw peppers (another bugaboo with me and my stomach) but of course I was in the minority. At least if they left them big I could pick it out.

              2. Raw onion regularly makes an appearance on my sandwiches and in salads.