Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Onion Rings

Yesterday we made our annual jaunt to Beverly Hills to give our tax stuff to the accountant. This is a great occasion for us because we always have lunch at Factor's Deli (previously reviewed.) Their corned beef is out of this world good; Richie loves their chocolate shakes and I like their onion rings.

In fact, as I looked at the dinner plate-sized serving of them, I wondered aloud, "Who invented onion rings?" Richie looked up blankly from slurping his shake and shrugged.

I found that the earliest mention of them was in 1929, but it wasn't substantiated. The next would have been in a 1933 Crisco recipe -- pull the onion into rings, dip in milk, then in flour and fry them. It occurs to me that onion rings would have been extremely cheap food during the Great Depression. Not nutritious, mind you, but filling and cheap.

Onion rings are popular in the US, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and Malaysia (!) but I've never seen one in France or Mexico. Then again, I wasn't expecting them there.

In 1955, a man named Sam Quigley began selling them out of a store-front in Nebraska. His products led to "Sam's Onions," the first commercially manufactured ever in the US. In 1962, "Sam" added mushrooms and in 1973, he sold onion rings to International Dairy Queen (perhaps they have DQs in Malaysia?)

The Outback Steak House's "Bloomin' Onion" was first presented to diners in 1988 with an artery-busting 2,210 calories and 134 grams of fat. Chili's used to make them as "Awesome Blossoms" but quit serving them.

Stil, thee is something of an aura of myster as to exactly who, when and where. Hope to know more tomorrow.

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