Thursday, March 28, 2013

The History of The Onion by Eliyho Matz


Dedicated to Eric Montalvo and the Workers at La Tasa de Oro Restaurant in Manhattan, Who Prepare for me Daily an Onion Sandwich So I Can Start My Daily Search on the Internet for Information on the Mighty Onion

            Ancient civilizations’ rise and fall have been the focus of research from Herodotus to modern historians whose names are not yet known.  During the last few months, I have been researching the mysteries of ancient civilizations.  In the past few years, I have focused my attention on the historical role of potatoes over the last 350 years, and I published an article on the Internet that encapsulates my thoughts on potatoes.  Now I am busy researching the role of onions in the history of civilizations.

            The onion played a wide role in ancient Egyptian civilization.  The pyramid-builders were paid for their labor in onions and radishes.  The onion’s origin is believed to be from the Far East, close to China.  The ancient Chinese have used onions for food and for medicine.  How the onion arrived in Egypt we do not know.  We can assume it came via ancient traders through Mesopotamia and its civilizations.  The ancient Greeks adopted onions for all sorts of ritualistic festivities, including those relating to wars.  The Romans brought the onion from the East and introduced it into their diet, as well as into their cultural activities.  The Russians adopted the onion as a church symbol.  In the United States, the “Onion” has become a symbol (representation/emblem) of humor and sometimes comic reporting. 

            In one way or another, people all over the world have succumbed to the belief that onions have in them real benefits, including properties that contribute to the well functioning of the brain, and cancer-preventing agents.  Thus, when Jews celebrate the coming holiday of Passover, we have to recall the Biblical story of the Hebrews leaving Egypt and wandering into the desert, or course missing the onions they had been used to eating in Pharoanic Egypt.  Nutritionally and otherwise, onions were ubiquitous in Egypt to support the Hebrews’ physical and mental strength.

            In East Europe’s poor Jewish communities, onions have been consumed for more than 1000 years.  These Jews were poor, but they ate onions with every dish, and their minds evolved.  Thus we cannot take lightly the onion concept they came up with: “You should grow like an onion, with your head in the ground and with your feet up.”  This philosophy represented sort of an early exercise for tranquility and body health. 

Dear Reader, if you have any thoughts to share on the role onions have played in civilization over the past 5000 years, please write back and let me know.  I would be grateful and pleased to acknowledge your input in my upcoming article.

Thank you,
Eliyho Matz