Three Cheers for the Onion

Four centuries ago, Babylonians appreciated onions, as revealed by Yale University’s Babylonian Collection and three clay tablets described as the world’s oldest known cookbooks. Marek Pruszewicz for BBC News Magazine points to onions as “the only truly global ingredient, adding, “rare is the cookery book that that is onion-free.” The hardy vegetable adapts to many climates; it’s easy to store and is versatile for recipes. So it’s no surprise that the United Nations reports that at least 175 countries produce an onion crop, “well over twice as many as grow wheat, the largest global crop by tonnage.” Because of the ubiquity and storage capabilities, there is little global trade in onions. China and India consume near half the world’s supply. Indian consumers complain about rising prices, prompting the government to limit exports. The onion also influences Indian politics, with Pruszewicz pointing out that “Perhaps the most notable impact was in 1998, when the defeat of the governing BJP party in Delhi state elections was put down to the rise in onion prices.” – YaleGlobal

Three Cheers for the Onion

Onions are eaten and grown in more countries than any other vegetable yet receive little acclaim – world’s oldest known cookbooks, held at Yale, feature onions
Marek Pruszewicz
Monday, January 12, 2015
Copyright © 2015 BBC.

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