TORONTO—Foodies throughout the city are scrambling for their recipe books after a surprise delivery of an American delicacy landed on street corners in the early morning of September 28. The Onion, a distant, saltier relative of the herald, the bugle and the gazette, has never been cultivated in Canada. Although it is often unfairly associated with Gawker, another American delicacy that, according to a report in New York magazine, is harvested by indentured servants, the Onion is farmed in good conscience by white, liberally-educated men and women largely in their early-to-mid twenties.
“It’s just so exciting,” says Serin Thomas, master baker at the Daily Pain, a nose-to-tail pastry shop in Yorkville. She pulled a bundle of the Onion out of a newspaper box on her stoop Wednesday morning and started experimenting. “It could be sweet; it could be savoury—who knows? I put it in everything.” Thomas says the top sellers of the day were the seal liver and Onion tiramisu and the Shih-Tzu and Onion smoked meatballs.
Asked whether customers are squeamish to try the new star ingredient, Guido Alhambra, head chef of the Church-Wellesley restaurant, le Coq et la Phoque says, “Oh, no no no. Just tell them it’s not Canadian and they’ll eat anything up.” Alhambra says that while the locavore movement continues to sell a lot of books and really gross looking apples, most of our nourishment still comes from our neighbours to the south. “There’s only so much you can do with maple syrup,” Alhambra adds, “And does anybody really like Canadian bacon?”
The Onion is slated to land in Vancouver within the next year. Writer and sculptor Douglas Coupland says he can’t wait for the Onion to arrive in Vancouver so he can chew it up and regurgitate it for an installation piece.
But late Tuesday night, multiple restaurateurs simultaneously reported that customers were experiencing hallucinations after eating the Onion. Whole tables believed that members of the U.S. Congress had taken a group of children hostage in the Capitol rotunda and threatened to shoot them for ransom.
Contacted for comment, a representative of the Onion downplayed the incident, saying, “Oh right, the hallucinations. We get those all the time. Actually,” he added, “the whole thing’s a lot cooler if you just don’t try to distinguish fact from reality.” He went on to say, “One time, all 300 million of us took something really powerful and we all went out into the desert and hunted the devil for ten years. That was a trip.”
About the author
Ashleigh Gaul was the Head of Research of the Winter 2012 issue for the Ryerson Review of Journalism.