Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 06-19-2006, 12:34 AM
panache45 panache45 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: NE Ohio (the 'burbs)
Posts: 39,374
Eating a slice of bread while cutting an onion

My grandmother always said that, if you eat a slice of bread while cutting an onion, you won't cry. I've tried it and it works. Why?
  #2  
Old 06-19-2006, 12:42 AM
Cunctator Cunctator is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Posts: 11,386
I've tried it too and I don't think it does work.
  #3  
Old 06-19-2006, 12:52 AM
Askance Askance is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 7,037
And there's no reason why it would work. The onion fumes are still getting in your eyes exactly the same. Maybe chewing on bread distracts you from your distress, that'd be about it.

My friend wears a snorkelling mask and snorkel while doing onions, now that works.
  #4  
Old 06-19-2006, 12:55 AM
diggleblop diggleblop is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 1,870
Old wives tale.
  #5  
Old 06-19-2006, 06:04 AM
gabriela gabriela is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,158
Outside any of my areas of expertise here (your Honor, the witness is being called on to speculate, she hasn't been qualified as an expert in onion cutting) but I think one tears up while onion cutting from the release of irritating gaseous organic compounds. Is one of them cysteine sulfoxide?

If a person were using a sufficiently absorbent piece of bread, it might take up enough of the gas to let the rest dissipate, and keep her eyes from watering. And that might be the start of the idea. Another person using a piece of bread that was thinner or older or less absorbent right out of the package (or oven) might not get significant absorption, and that might be why it didn't work.
  #6  
Old 06-19-2006, 08:15 AM
Lissa Lissa is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Posts: 10,581
I had always heard that you should chew gum while chopping onions, not eat bread.
__________________
Quid quid latine dictum sit, altum videtur.
  #7  
Old 06-19-2006, 08:39 AM
SnakesCatLady SnakesCatLady is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Columbus, Georgia
Posts: 6,934
I had always heard that if you hold a piece of raw potato in your mouth, it stops the crying. I've never tried it. And of course, some onions make me cry more than others.
  #8  
Old 06-19-2006, 09:30 AM
panache45 panache45 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: NE Ohio (the 'burbs)
Posts: 39,374
Well, I've tried it several times (back when I was eating stronger onions than I do now) and it seemed to work. So could this be psychosomatic?
  #9  
Old 06-19-2006, 07:48 PM
Mangosteen Mangosteen is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Namche Bazaar
Posts: 2,133
The idea is not to EAT the piece of bread. You need to bite into it and let it hang down from your mouth and catch the fumes.
  #10  
Old 06-20-2006, 06:52 PM
Fish Fish is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Olympia, Washington
Posts: 5,632
Quote:
Originally Posted by SnakesCatLady
I had always heard that if you hold a piece of raw potato in your mouth, it stops the crying.
But remember, if you use a piece of raw potato, be sure to turn the power off first.

  #11  
Old 06-20-2006, 10:30 AM
kayT kayT is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Austin
Posts: 4,577
If you hold the bread in your mouth and let it hang down as suggested above, it does work for a while and the bread gets very cold, which I assume has something to do with the chemical it is absorbing. However, the bread does get "full" and then it stops working.
  #12  
Old 06-20-2006, 10:58 AM
Chefguy Chefguy is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Portlandia
Posts: 38,468
Wetting your forearms and wrists helps with the problem. The enzyme that makes you tear up is attacking the moist mucous membranes. While wetting your forearms won't eliminate the problem, I find that it greatly reduces it.
  #13  
Old 06-20-2006, 02:35 PM
Burrido Burrido is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: in the deep woods
Posts: 1,265
Wow, lots of different spins on this. I was always taught to have a slice of cucumber hanging out of your mouth for onions.
  #14  
Old 06-20-2006, 04:41 PM
MovieMogul MovieMogul is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Posts: 15,681
Quote:
Originally Posted by Burrido
Wow, lots of different spins on this. I was always taught to have a slice of cucumber hanging out of your mouth for onions.
Well, to be on the safe side, from now on, I'm going to have a cucumber sandwich hanging out of my mouth.
  #15  
Old 06-20-2006, 09:53 PM
Chefguy Chefguy is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Portlandia
Posts: 38,468
Quote:
Originally Posted by ArchiveGuy
Well, to be on the safe side, from now on, I'm going to have a cucumber sandwich hanging out of my mouth.
Make that a wet cucumber sandwich and you'll be fine.
  #16  
Old 06-21-2006, 12:11 PM
Trunk Trunk is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Baltobama, YesWeCanyland
Posts: 9,764
Quote:
Originally Posted by kayT
If you hold the bread in your mouth and let it hang down as suggested above, it does work for a while and the bread gets very cold, which I assume has something to do with the chemical it is absorbing. However, the bread does get "full" and then it stops working.
So, if I went home and cut up an onion and held a piece of bread over it, you're telling me the bread would get very cold? Must I dangle the piece of bread from my mouth?

What kind of magic voodoo is this?
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:09 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2017 Sun-Times Media, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017