In 1992, second grade, I was in Girl Scouts. We were living in Germany at the time and I think it helped the American parents think they were keeping their kids American by having their children in Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts. I only did Girl Scouts for 2 years and I never made it past "Brownie". Come to think of it- I had a couple bad experiences as a Brownie which I'm sure deterred me from signing up the following year. One was being forced to go on a horrific kiddie ride at a German amusement park during our "Browning Outting". (I was afraid of EVERYTHING when I was little). I screamed and cried and made a huge scene on this tiny rollercoaster that didnt get more than 3 feet off the ground. I think I embarassed everyone because all the German people were staring at us.
But the most memorable experience in Brownies was the time we earned our cooking patch. Our troop leader, Mrs. Biamonte, decided we were going to make soup (A bold decision on her part.) As she was assigning each of us 8 year old girls our part I eagerly awaited my duties. I hoped to get something fun and important to do like "add the chicken" or "stirring".
"Kelsey Primus- you'll be chopping onions!"
Okay! Cutting stuff could be fun! We made our way from Mrs. Biamonte's basement den to the kitchen where we all got aprons and were put to work. I was given an onion, a knife and very explicit directions on how not to cut myself (which obviously fell short of being a life long lesson: see- the pot roast)
I went to town on the onions. Peeling off the outer layers, then chopping and dicing. It was fun for a while. With all of us girls in the kitchen it was crowded but cozy, lively and bustling with actvity. Shortly into my duties however, I began squinting and squeezing my eyes shut. Soon the waterworks came. My eyes were tearing up making it hard to see. My eyes were stinging! And it just kept getting worse and worse. It felt like how lemons taste- sour and bitter, but juicy. I had no idea what was happening or why. I went to tell Mrs. Biamonte that something was wrong with me and she said that this is what happens when you chop onions. And that I just had to close my eyes until it passed and keep going. I am sure at some point I tried to wipe my eyes and got onion juice in them. I've since then learned my lesson about that one. YEOWZA! Somehow I managed to earn my cooking patch. I think I should have earned two. None of the other girls cried while making soup.
This story leads me to yesterday's Thanksgiving cooking adventure. Since I am a married adult now I feel inclined to contribute to the dinner like an adult (maybe not so adult that I help out with the dishes yet though). And, I like to cook. So I made a cornbread, apple, sausage stuffing. It's basically a sweet stuffing, almost like bread pudding. Instead of chicken broth I used apple juice. Oh yea, it had onions in it too.
So I embarked on chopping the onions. I braced myself- knowing what was in store. I had 2 dear friends of mine over a few weeks ago for cooking, dinner and a movie. Sarah bravely volunteered to chop the onions. She was tearing up of course and I was struggling to keep my eyes open just being in the same room.
So I dove right in.
and of course- the water works came.
and then I had a stroke of genius. I put on my sunglasses! I knew their hugeness was good for something practical!
it worked for a little bit. But in the end. I only chopped half an onion. I found in the frozen food section in the grocery store that you can buy pre chopped onions....why everyone doesnt use these, i'll never know.
The stuffing was excellent though! Onions. Who needs em?