• drcatherineyang

Introduction: Fear of Onions

Updated: Apr 16, 2019

I was never a big fan of onions but I was always encouraged to try them. Everyone around me seems to be so certain about their health benefits, nutritional values and they are found in so many dishes!

Growing up with an Asian background, food is always an important part of Taiwanese culture. Taiwanese cuisine relies on an abundant array of seasonings for flavour. Therefore, if one is scared of eating onions but has to include them in a particular dish, it is very common to "hide the hint of onions" by mincing and overpowering them with spices and sauces.

I was sick for a third time this year therefore I decided to take a dietary approach to help my battered immunity.

Instead of testing out the best tear-free tricks for cutting onions and make a healthy meal at home, I decided to handle my fear of onion by stepping outside the house.

I decided to go to a local European-style restaurant in Roseville and ordered the soup a l’oignon (the French Onion Soup).

To my pleasant surprise, the French Onion Soup is absolutely delicious! The sweet caramelized onions simmering in the rich beef broth give some great flavour that transforms otherwise basic ingradients into a luxurious and warm meal. I was amazed by actually enjoying the taste of every slice of the julienned onions.

My new experience to deal with my fear of onions has given me some insight about challenges in life.

We all have fears in life and when fear overtakes us, we stop moving forward and we can feel trapped and unhappy. The intensity of fear is less a matter of what it is and more a matter of how it affects you.

By running away from your fear or by ignoring it, fear will not just disappear and you will need to face it again sooner or later, more often with more pain. This is similar to eating a raw onion which flavour is so sharp and pungent that makes you teary.

If you choose to fight hard with all your might against any fear every time you encounter it in life, you can end up feeling too exhausted to celebrate your win. And just before you feel recovered from overcoming that one fear and ready to get on with your life, another fear shows up to crush you down. This is similar to over-cooking the onions on high heat for too long and they start to burn and taste bitter.

If I had only learned one way to accept having onions as in a traditional Asian cuisine by concealing the taste of onions in a dish through mincing and overpowering them with other spices and sauces, I could finish the dish but still in fear of onions when they appear uncooked, unminced and unseasoned. I still would not feel comfortable to face the fear of onions unless they could be disguised in some way.

In the light of my new food experience by trying the French cuisine, when the onions were cooked slowly over medium heat, the pungent flavour disappeared, leaving behind a mild sweetness which blended into the background as a base for the dish. Then as the onions continued to be cooked from over medium heat to low heat, they turned brown in colour, softer in texture with some nutty surface and caramelized with more sweetness. This cooking technique completely changes the stinging flavour of onions by bringing out its natural sweetness to enhance a quality meal. This transformation of the taste of onions allows me to enjoy a deeply comforting, immune boosting soup which makes me feel healthy with no more fear at the sight of onions.

Fear comes in many forms in life and a lot of them are inter-related. When you let fear dominate your life, it can cause serious health consequences physically, physiologically, psychologically, mentally, emotionally, socially and spiritually. Therefore, it is important to learn how to manage fears in life. Even though it is inevitable to experience fear in life, you don't need to run away from it or try too hard to get rid of it until you reach the point of burnout. Instead of feeling emotionally drained or metally exhausted, you can S.T.E.P. on your fear and to be who you want to be, to do what you want to do and to live how you want to live for an enjoyable and fulfiling life.

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