You know that feeling when you finish watching First Wives Club and your girlfriend walks in out of nowhere, and you tell her you were only crying because you were chopping onions, and then she asks you where the onions are and you tell her you have to go return some video tapes, and then you leave your house and never come back?
Um, yeah, me neither. But for those who do regularly employ this excuse, I have some bad news: it’s possible to slice an onion without releasing the peeper-irritating sulfuric acid (propanethial S-oxide).
There are plenty of myths, legends, and old wives’ tales out there about how to cease the flow of onion-induced tears, so I tried ’em all — using a white, yellow, and red onion — to determine the best ways to keep tears locked deep, deep inside the recesses of my soul, like a real man. I did a controlled test first, without any preventative measures, and spoiler alert: it stung the crap out of my eyes.
11. Holding a piece of bread in your mouth
How is it supposed to work?: Put a piece of bread in your mouth. That’s it.
Did it actually work?: No, dude. It obviously did not work.
10. Microwaving onions before cutting
How is it supposed to work?: You nuke the onions before you cut them — you can even cut the ends off for added effect (more on that later). The radioactive waves draw out and weaken the harmful acids.
Did it actually work?: Everyone in the office was kind of pissed I made the communal kitchen smell like heated raw onion. And no, it didn’t work.
9. Holding your tongue on the roof of your mouth, and breathing through your mouth while cutting
How is it supposed to work: It’s dumb. You look dumb doing it. And weirdly, it’s harder than it seems to cut, hold, and avoid breathing through your nostrils at the same time. Legend has it, breathing through your mouth and not your nose will draw in the sulfur before it hits your eyes. I’m calling BS.
Did it actually work?: Nope!
8. Cutting the onion close to a burning flame
How is it supposed to work?: The open fire (I suggest a small candle, for obvious reasons) is supposed to draw the fumes away from your retinas and into the heat.
Did it actually work?: No. Not at all. And now the entire kitchen smells like patchouli.
7. Covering your knife in lemon juice before cutting
How is it supposed to work?: The lemon juice — a powerful, natural odor absorber — sucks up all the nasty sulfur before it hits your peepers.
Did it actually work?: Nah. Though it did remind me of all the times my mom made me Pledge the entire hardwood floor of our dining room. Which brought me to tears, but in a different way.
6. Cutting off the base of the onion and throwing it away
How is it supposed to work?: People think the base of the onion is ground zero for sulfur in the onion, and by chopping that off and discarding it first, you can avoid the crying.
Did it actually work?: People also think Mark Zuckerberg will personally give you millions if you share a stupid status.
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