My knife never sings but hums instead when withdrawn from its block, a metallic whisper so modest only the wielder may hear it. Or perhaps the dog, who seems to enjoy the kitchen nearly as much as I. A Japanese blade, it’s a joy to hold, perfectly balanced, stainless steel-molybdenum alloy, blade and handle of one piece, bright, untarnished, and so sharp as to slide through, rather than awkwardly rupture and divide, its next task on the board.

We’ve never counted the chopped and rendered onions, the fine dice, slender rings and discarded skins, but if we could gather all the corpses we’ve produced together over the years, we’d form a monument to our work, cooperation of metal and man, a Waterloo mound in memory of the bulbs laid there, the planning involved, the missteps and serendipity, and the tears shed along the way.

The blade doesn’t care. It is. It works. It moves things, it lifts, it parts them, and in return is cleansed, and later, in the quiet room, maintains its edge with a silvery rasp, angled steel on steel in a circular motion, over and over, until finally it hums its way back into the block. But it never sings.


“Onions” last appeared here in December 2019. Hmm. This reminds me (again) that I need to sharpen knives…

Alas, my bout with COVID-19 has rendered me incapable of, or unwilling to, cut into onions. Parosmia has reared its ugly head, and now onions, garlic, bacon, peppers, arugula and hoppy ales among other beloved foods emit odors resembling a mix of raw sewage, mildewed peat moss and burnt wood. Ah, 2020!

19 thoughts on “Onions

  1. Yikes, Bob! I ditto Margaret Lear. You sent me googling with “parosmia” – I had no idea it lingered afterward nor that such a huge number of people suffered from it! And you being a god of the kitchen – ouch!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That is the very apex of adding insult to injury… I try to take a scientific interest in the discoveries of what this virus can do (for however long) but… that’s pretty short-lived compared to my anger. I will however express relief that some precious pleasures remain inviolable for you both!

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    • I want to scream when someone says COVID-19 is “just like the flu.” It’s now been seven months since my “recovery.” And we won’t mention the racing heart, etc. But yes, Stephanie and I count ourselves among the fortunate. Life is good, even during these strange times!

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