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We had a bit of drama this morning – the battery on our car was flat.  After we got it sorted out, I went back inside and couldn’t find the cat.  I checked in all of her usual hiding spots but Pippa was no where to be found.  Then I checked my bedroom.

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Well, don’t you look comfy cozy?

 

People cry when chopping onions because the veggie releases an enzyme into the air; this enzyme irritates humans’ eyes and makes us shed a tear or two. 

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Buuuuuuut.  I have never cried while onion chopping!  I literally stuck my eyeballs right next to this sucker while cutting it for my salad… No tears.  What gives? 

 

Am I immune to the enzyme? Is it my contacts? Am I an onion superhero?

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The world may never know.

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Here’s something that definitely did not make me cry…

 

Peanut butter-stuffed dates.  Mmm.  Perfect sweet snack.

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So – where did the onion go for a few drinks? The Salad Bar, of course.

{ 70 comments }

 

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  • Andrea January 22, 2013, 1:52 pm

    I’m the opposite – I can’t go near an onion without waterworks pouring down my face. It’s actually so annoying, to the point where I can’t see and need to leave the room. I’m going to invest in onion goggles http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/ae2d/

    Reply
  • Cori January 22, 2013, 1:52 pm

    it’s your contacts. When I used to be able to wear them, my eyes never watered either. Now that I can’t wear them – I am a tear machine…

    Reply
    • lisa fine @ vermont vittles January 22, 2013, 1:55 pm

      I was just going to write that! I used to wear my contacts all the time, but haven’t worn them in months. I’ve gone from never crying to almost always crying while chopping onions. Oh well.

      Reply
      • Mandi January 22, 2013, 2:08 pm

        I agree! On days when I wear contacts, I’m totally fine. But it’s a different story altogether with glasses — I can’t stop the stinging and the tears! My theory is that the contact lenses must act as a barrier to whatever enzyme our eyes find irritating.

        Reply
        • Brandy January 22, 2013, 2:42 pm

          Ditto on that. I cry profusely if I have my glasses on, but not at all with my contacts. I’ve heard from other sources that contacts sufficiently prevents the enzyme from coming into contact with the eye.

          Reply
          • Courtney January 22, 2013, 8:48 pm

            I completely agree. I made french onion soup the other day and I completely forgot that I was wearing my glasses. I was crying like a baby! It was almost unbearable chopping so many onions without my contacts.

    • Lesley January 22, 2013, 2:16 pm

      Yep, it’s the contacts. I used to be fine, but since my laser eye surgery I too tear up when I chop them.

      Reply
      • Wendy January 23, 2013, 9:07 am

        I wear contacts and my eyes still water like crazy!!!!

        Reply
        • Jessica January 23, 2013, 10:54 am

          Mine don’t water when I wear contacts!

          Reply
  • Alycia January 22, 2013, 1:54 pm

    Where do you store your onions? If you keep them in the fridge/freezer they won’t burn your eyes when you cut them! Thank goodness, because my eyes burn any time I cut a room temp onion.

    Reply
    • Lindsay January 22, 2013, 3:30 pm

      YES! This is so true and I had no idea before reading this comment! I always keep mine in the fridge and never cry when cutting onions at home, but have noticed that I do cry when I am at my mom’s house or at a friend’s house!

      Reply
  • Danielle @ TwoLoveBirds January 22, 2013, 2:02 pm

    I had never cried when cutting an onion either, then one day I cut one just wearing my glasses, not my contacts. My eyes FREAKED OUT! Seriously, watering uncontrollably. It was ridiculous. Contacts are my bff’s when it comes to cutting onions now.

    My cat always like to hide under the blankets on our bed or behind the curtains in our bedroom, while it hard to find her at first, we’ve finally caught on!

    Reply
  • Lindsay@A Healthy State of Mind January 22, 2013, 2:02 pm

    It’s definitely your contacts! I never cry when I’m chopping onions with my contacts in, but the few times I’ve been wearing my glasses while doing so, I had to leave the room because I literally had tears streaming down my face.

    Reply
  • Allie January 22, 2013, 2:04 pm

    My car battery was dead this morning too! Not fun when it’s 15 degrees outside…

    Reply
  • jamie January 22, 2013, 2:05 pm

    Yes, it is your contacts. When I chop onions with them in, never cry. With them out (wearing glasses) always tear up.

    BTW love the blog – reader since 2008 but first comment!

    Reply
    • Caitlin January 22, 2013, 2:20 pm

      Aww thank you!!

      Reply
  • Jessica January 22, 2013, 2:09 pm

    I love that you combine the dates and peanut butter! I do that all the time and always tell people how delicious it is and they look at me like I’m crazy! Glad I’m not alone – might have to go make a little snack now…

    Reply
    • Cori January 22, 2013, 3:31 pm

      I’m a big fan of goat cheese stuffed dates…so yum

      Reply
  • allis January 22, 2013, 2:10 pm

    when i remember…..i put the onion in the freezer for 15 minutes or so. i dont cry that way! if i forget, i back off as far as i can from the onion ;)
    dates & pb is SO GOOD! specifically TJ’s unsalted pb :D mmmmmmm

    Reply
  • Logan @ Mountains and Miles January 22, 2013, 2:11 pm

    I agree with the contacts – when I am wearing my contacts I NEVER cry, but when I am only wearing my glasses, it’s like a sob fest.

    Reply
  • Kristen January 22, 2013, 2:15 pm

    It’s the contacts. Try chopping an onion with your glasses on instead and you will be shocked at the difference. I make sure I always have my contacts in while cooking with onion!

    Reply
  • Leah January 22, 2013, 2:17 pm

    Well cutting the onion breaks up cells allowing them to interact- it doesn’t really release an enzyme into the air so much as the enzyme catalyzes rxns in the now broken up cells, which creates a sulfur compound that reacts with the water in your eyes. You tear up in response to the irritation. Do you tear up when you get stuff in your eyes or it’s windy? That’s the same type of response (reflexive tears.)

    Interestingly, they are now making “tear-free” onions by growing them in soil with a low Sulfur-content.

    Reply
    • Jackie January 22, 2013, 3:55 pm

      True – it’s not the enzyme that is responsible for the irritation – it’s the chemical that is formed by the reaction the enzyme catalyzes.

      Leah, I didn’t know they are trying to make tear free onions! This seems like a bad idea since sulfur-rich foods are healthy because of the sulfur!

      Reply
      • Leah January 23, 2013, 12:17 am

        I agree.. I prefer food in their most natural form but I tear up BAD with onions.. even with contacts in. Tear-Free ones would be tempting!

        Reply
  • Kayla @ Lovely Ride January 22, 2013, 2:20 pm

    I just cried chopping like one quick onion! SO not fair!!

    Reply
  • Heather January 22, 2013, 2:25 pm

    It is your contacts. I wore them for years and onions never bothered me. I got lasik about a year ago and now I cry every time.

    That said I’ll deal with the crying for being able to see. No contacts or glasses is pretty awesome.

    Reply
  • Kristen L January 22, 2013, 2:34 pm

    I always cry chopping onions. I’ve heard before a super sharp knife can help, but I don’t actually know if that’s true…

    Reply
  • Gwen January 22, 2013, 2:34 pm

    I giggled when you said you got the car “sorted out.” My girlfriend, also married to a Brit and who lives in London always says that things are “sorted” or “sorted out.” I think it’s a thing, maybe. Also, onions have never made me cry either! But I like your joke :)

    Reply
  • Jennifer January 22, 2013, 2:36 pm

    I don’t cry either!! I always thought it was so weird how people cried while chopping them since I have never shed one tear over any type of onion. We have a super power! :)

    Reply
  • Lisa January 22, 2013, 2:38 pm

    Most recently my battery died while I was in the Trader Joe’s parking lot. At least I had snacks :)

    Reply
  • rachel January 22, 2013, 2:38 pm

    i don’t wear contacts and sometimes onions don’t bother me and other times i cry a river while chopping. i’m assuming it has something to do with freshness or where it was stored

    also. i prefer to chop with a food processor anymore – it’s just quicker

    Reply
  • Tiffany January 22, 2013, 2:39 pm

    As others said, it’s definitely the contacts! I am the “onion chopper” in our family because I wear contacts and hubby does not. However, I just got LASIK and now I’m in the same boat. Tear city! I did get “onion goggles” for my husband awhile ago which block your eyes from the onion and wear those now myself!

    Reply
  • Erica January 22, 2013, 2:42 pm

    Agree with everyone saying it’s the contacts. Pippa’s face in that picture is great – cats just love to claim their domain and show you who’s boss :)

    Reply
  • Carolyn @ Eat.Live.Be Well January 22, 2013, 2:43 pm

    I hear if your knife is sharp, you won’t cry. A dull knife, you will.

    Reply
  • Elisabeth January 22, 2013, 2:45 pm

    I cry all over the place with onions & then the tears start burning my eyes & I tear up even more.

    I had a dead car battery last week… AAA came to jump it & there was no juice whatsoever. I ended up just buying a battery off them. It cost a little more, but it was worth the convenience. ;)

    Reply
  • Jen January 22, 2013, 2:45 pm

    I love Pippa’s expression. Any progress with Pippa’s peeing? My cat had another peeing incident this morning as I was leaving for work. I understand how hard it is to deal with those situations!

    Reply
  • Janis January 22, 2013, 2:55 pm

    Exercises in pedantry: When the cells in the onion are interrupted, they release an enzyme that reacts with the rest of the onion to produce a gas that reacts with the water in your eyes to form sulfuric acid. The acid burns your eyes. That’s easy enough to google, Caitlin.

    Reply
  • Katie @ Peace Love and Oats January 22, 2013, 3:15 pm

    Haha you must be a super hero because it definitely makes me cry!

    Reply
  • Alisha January 22, 2013, 3:22 pm Reply
  • catie January 22, 2013, 3:31 pm

    i WISH i didn’t cry when chopping onions! i have tears just streaming down my face the second i cut into one! and i even have one of those pampered chef things that are like the slap-chop…it’s the only way i can get through making anything with onions in it.

    Reply
  • Margaret @ Have a Good Run January 22, 2013, 3:31 pm

    I don’t cry over onions either! My boyfriend on the other hand…literally cannot finish chopping an onion. I also wear contacts though so…maybe that’s it? If you find out, please post!

    Reply
  • Eliza January 22, 2013, 3:46 pm

    I never cry either! Contacts or no contacts. We’re superheroines!

    Reply
  • Reenie January 22, 2013, 3:55 pm

    * Man, I’m horrible when I chop onions….. I have to stop to wipe the tears. I’ve always wondered why none of the chefs/cooks on shows never cry?!

    * Pips looks purty cute and cozy!!

    Reply
  • Alex @ Raw Recovery January 22, 2013, 4:05 pm

    I vote onion superhero. Definitely.

    Reply
  • Crissy January 22, 2013, 4:15 pm

    It’s totally your contacts! I used to never cry either.. then I got Lasik… now I am a ball of tears every time I get close to one. UGH!

    Reply
  • Sonia the Mexigarian January 22, 2013, 4:35 pm

    LOL. Love the look Pippa is giving you. Chloe gives that to me as well. If I can’t find her, for whatever reason, I check the bed and she’s usually there, smack dab in the middle. Miss Princess on her throne.

    Reply
  • Elise @ Expeditions of Elise January 22, 2013, 4:39 pm

    Oh my gosh peanut butter stuff dates are the BEST! With coconut…so delicious.

    Reply
  • Nikki January 22, 2013, 4:39 pm

    I wear contacts and my husband says I must be dead inside because I don’t cry when I chop onions:-)

    Reply
  • Beks January 22, 2013, 4:48 pm

    I had to cut up there little onions this weekend. Two for Pasta Carbonara and one for stuffed peppers last night. The two for the Carbonara had be crying buckets, so for the stuffed pepper onion, I chopped it in the mini food processor. Nope. Still crying buckets.

    Reply
  • RJ January 22, 2013, 4:54 pm

    Contacts. If you don’t have fancy onion goggles, swimming goggles work just as well! They get a bit steamy after a while though…

    Reply
  • Katie @ Talk Less, Say More January 22, 2013, 5:05 pm

    I used to hardly ever cry (no contacts, no glasses), just a few small tears. Lately, if I cut an onion, I’m basically SOBBING and sometimes, it doesn’t even matter if I’m the one chopping it. I’ve walked into the kitchen AFTER my parents have cut an onion and I’m tearing up. You, my friend, are lucky! ;)

    Reply
  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape January 22, 2013, 5:26 pm

    I wish my eyes didn’t water when I chopped onions! It always burns, too :(

    Reply
  • Lisa January 22, 2013, 5:32 pm

    Those dates look amazing!

    Reply
  • Rebecca January 22, 2013, 6:00 pm

    My car hasn’t started the last couple of days. I need to find someone to jump it tonight. I definitely need it Thursday night and Friday, but my mom told me not to wait until Thursday. Hopefully it just needs a jump and not a completely new battery…

    I don’t have much of a problem cutting onions because I’m almost never the one cutting them. Hah. But just thinking about it is making my eyes feel funny. Weird! Haha.

    Reply
  • Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) January 22, 2013, 6:04 pm

    That is so strange – I cry like a baby!

    Reply
  • Rachel January 22, 2013, 6:06 pm

    There’s nothing quite as scary as thinking you’ve lost a pet (though I imagine thinking you’ve lost a child is worse but probably happens less frequently).

    I also don’t have problems with onions; however, there was one onion–the one and only time–that really got me. I literally had to leave the room and go outside. It was really painful! On the other hand, I have a friend who looks like she has ben crying for days when she cuts an onion. I’m so glad it doesn’t happen to me all the time!

    Randomly I just ate a date right before reading your blog. They are the best ugly food there is!

    Reply
  • Cassidy @ wine and ice cream January 22, 2013, 6:45 pm

    I think its the contacts. The only time I’ve cried while cutting onions I was wearing glasses instead of contacts.

    Reply
  • Susan January 22, 2013, 6:55 pm

    I’ve worn contacts (gas permiable and soft ) and glasses for years and never had crying problems with onions until just a few years ago (while still wearing contacts.) I had always prided myself that it never bothered me and then, all of a sudden it does!! So who knows why??? I think it is still a mystery. Annoying, but a mystery.

    Reply
  • Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health January 22, 2013, 7:08 pm

    I want to get contacts now (even though I don’t need them) so I don’t cry anymore. It hurts so bad! And ruins your mascara, pssh.

    Reply
  • Angie @ Pint of Goals January 22, 2013, 7:35 pm

    Although this tip doesn’t benefit you, sticking out your tongue while cutting onions does a pretty darn good job at preventing those tears. And if they start, stick your head in the freezer and it stops the burning.

    Reply
  • Emily @ Hungry Delights January 22, 2013, 7:51 pm

    I never get teary either – I thought I just had built up an immunity to it or something… alas after reading the comments its just my contacts :(
    xo Emily @ Hungry Delights

    Reply
  • Angela January 22, 2013, 8:01 pm

    I heard that if you breathe through your nose while cutting onions then you will cry, but not your mouth? I always cry no matter what though, so I’m not sure if it’s true.

    Reply
  • Carin January 22, 2013, 8:12 pm

    It’s the contacts. Forgot you wear them, too.

    Do you think that doing a month without contacts would be harder than The Naked Face Project? I do!

    Reply
  • Lauren @ Lawfully Wedded Wife January 22, 2013, 8:44 pm

    I think a million people have already said it but YEP it’s the contacts! Onions always killed me UNTIL I switched from glasses to contacts. :)

    Reply
  • Sam @ Better With Sprinkles January 22, 2013, 9:08 pm

    It’s the contacts. When I wear them onions don’t bug me at all, but when I wear my glasses I immediately start tearing up.

    Reply
  • Heather January 22, 2013, 11:21 pm

    i’ve read somewhere that lighting an unscented candle near you while you chop completely prevents the teariness. i have yet to try it… but i really must! i usually work up quite the waterworks

    Reply
  • @photorecipe January 23, 2013, 5:11 am

    I wish I had the same immunity to onions than you! Anyway, i’ve heard that if you put half an onion on your head, this prevents the tears… is a secret of nature and i´ve seen that it works!

    Thank´s for your blog and your ideas!

    Regards,

    @photorecipe

    Reply
  • BeepieRuns January 23, 2013, 9:09 am

    Ugh, I can’t even cut green onions without the waterworks starting up. I’ve heard that if you hold a piece of bread in your mouth it will prevent the tears, but I’ve never tried it.

    Love the idea of PB stuffed dates – I’ve got a whole tub of dates I’m starting to get bored with.

    Reply
  • Emily January 23, 2013, 9:47 am

    Maybe you’re like Bella swan where she has a shield so Edward can’t read her mind? :D

    Reply
  • Megan February 1, 2013, 4:06 pm

    Cut a red onion and if you still don’t cry, you’re the luckiest person alive!

    Reply

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