Question: Why Do Onions Make You Cry?
Answer: Unless you've avoided cooking, you've probably cut up an onion and experienced the burning and tearing you get from the vapors. When you cut an onion, you break cells, releasing their contents. Amino acid sulfoxides form sulfenic acids. Enzymes that were kept separate now are free to mix with the sulfenic acids to produce propanethiol S-oxide, a volatile sulfur compound that wafts upward toward your eyes. This gas reacts with the water in your tears to form sulfuric acid. The sulfuric acid burns, stimulating your eyes to release more tears to wash the irritant away.
Cooking the onion inactivates the enzyme, so while the smell of cooked onions may be strong, it doesn't burn your eyes. Aside from wearing safety goggles or running a fan, you can keep from crying by refrigerating your onion before cutting it (slows reactions and changes the chemistry inside the onion) or by cutting the onion under water.
And you either love 'em or you hate 'em ... there is no fence sitting when it comes to onions!
My first experience of an onion ring was MANY years ago, at a hometown place called King's Food Host. It was where you went after the Friday night high school football games for a malt, burger and their infamous onion rings. Nowadays my preference is what they call onion "strings" ... wafer thin, coated in more of a tempura-like batter than the traditional heavy coating, and then flash fried. The older I get the less I want to indulge in anything fried, so when I do want a good onion ring fix, I will usually just add a few to the top of my burger. Places that have the best straws are Famous Dave's and I've been seeing there more often than not at most of the burger chains. But you can also make these easily enough at home ... so here's the link to a fabulous recipe from Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman ...
And have you EVER heard of a cheese frenchee? It's like a grilled cheese sandwich, well, sort of, except instead of getting the grill treatment, it gets a spread of mayo, it's cut into triangles, dipped in batter, rolled in cornflake crumbs, and deep fried! It definitely deserves it's own national holiday so we'll save that for another time.