Now we know...
WHY DO ONIONS MAKE US CRY?
“It is hard to imagine a civilisation without onions,” the home- cook hero Julia Childs is reported to have said. From a mirepoix to a soffritto, from stocks to stews, onions are the building blocks of savoury flavour foundations.
After a hard day at the office, the sweet smell of an onion being sautéed in a pan can provide stress relief almost on a par with a loving hug from an old friend. But our tear ducts often pay the price on the road to unleashing the comfortingly familiar smell and flavour of a cooked onion. Why is it that onions make us cry? And is there anything we can do about it?
Well, it turns out that onions contain a chemical irritant called syn- propanethial- S- oxide.
In his 2010 book Garlic and Other Alliums: The Lore and the Science, chemist Eric Block shares his insights on the onion.
“See, the onion is a perennial bulb that lives in the ground with lots of critters who are looking for a snack,” he says. “So it has evolved a chemical defence system.”
When we cut into an onion, we release enzymes which mix with other chemicals inside the onion cells.
This creates a chemical reaction