My best friend Chloe hates chopping onions so much, she firmly believes that, if there's a God and He has a Dantean taste for customized punishments, she will be damned to an eternity of onion chopping in the afterlife. She also doesn't care for the taste of onions. So she never willingly chops them.
I do like the taste of onions. Not so much raw. But certainly caramelized or fried or sautéed as a base of flavor in lentils or chili or braised short ribs. So I chop onions regularly, though not happily. Onion chopping is one of two things in the world that can consistently make me cry. (The other is "Friday Night Lights.")
Once, after my eyes had stung and wept with unusual viciousness, I Googled the phrase "onion tears eye drops," in the hopes that some modern-day Edison had invented such a product. None had. But I quickly found that the gods of industry were shilling a host of other potential solutions, and that generations of wise, teary-eyed cooks had developed dozens of ad hoc methods for stemming the flow of tears.
So I decided to test an array of 15 of these methods and products. I diced a relatively mild yellow organic onion using each potential cure, waiting several minutes between each test to take notes and reset my tear ducts. Then I went back and re-tested each method using red and white onions to make sure the mildness of the first ones hadn't skewed the results. Click through below to see what I found:
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