Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Truth About Onions

Eat your onions!
I know that this statement seems to have nothing to do with what follows, but bear with me . . .

The 1918 flu pandemic (the Spanish Flu) was an influenza pandemic that spread widely across the world. Most victims were healthy young adults, in contrast to most influenza outbreaks which predominantly affect juvenile, elderly, or weakened patients. The pandemic lasted from March 1918 to June 1920, spreading even to the Arctic and remote Pacific islands. Between 50 and 100 million died, making it one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history. An estimated 50 million people, about 3% of the world's population (1.6 billion at the time), died of the disease. 500 million, or 1/3 were infected.
-                                                                                                                                   - World History Project

My Husby’s grandparents, Artie J. and Ovedia Seely, weren’t affected by the disease.
One of few people that managed to avoid it . . .
Even though every other family in the sleepy town of Stirling, Alberta, like the rest of the world, had one or more (or all) members sick with the deadly disease.
For months during the worst of the outbreak in their small community, Artie and one other unaffected man tended the farms and fed the animals for all of the other farmers.
Before daybreak every day, the two men were feeding animals, milking cows, cleaning, tending . . . performing all of the myriad tasks that constituted farming.
At every farm.
Every day.
It took the whole day.
Artie would return to his home and gulp down a hasty lunch, then head out once more.
Grandma Ovedia Fawns Seely
Onion cooker extraordinaire!
Returning only after sunset to snatch a few hours of sleep before he headed out once more.
And still, with all of the work and worry, he and his wife remained unaffected.
The reason?
Earlier that year, the two of them, Artie and Ovedia, had harvested a bumper crop of onions.
Every meal featured some incarnation of the remarkable vegetable.
Both of them believe that that fact alone kept them from succumbing.
I will give them the benefit of any doubt.
They . . . lived . . . through it.

P.S. My Husby has spoken with two other ‘old-timers’ who also lived through the great and terrible influenza pandemic. They, too, maintain that their families survived due largely to the fact that they ate onions with every meal.
You heard it here first.
Oh, and see that onion on your plate? Eat it.




18 comments:

  1. Amazing ... how worrisome a time that must have been to live through.

    I love onions. To me they are a more important ingredient than salt for taste (which might be partly because they have considerable sodium in them), and the FLAVOUR!! I hope their value in avoiding illness never has to be tested, though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Onions were all I could think about during the avian flu outbreak a couple of years ago . . .

      Delete
  2. I put onions in many of the things I cook. Between that and all the garlic I use, I should be good for another 40 years. Of course, my breath may kill off many of my friends.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe that's how we avoid things. It's the breath!

      Delete
  3. My mother was born in 1918. My grandmother told stories of the hardships. Don't know how many onions were consumed; they lived in the city.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love to hear the stories of your family! Fortunately, onions grow everywhere!

      Delete
  4. This is very true. Studies have been done where you cut an onion in half and just leave it sit in a room where someone is sick, and by morning, the onion turns almost black, and the sick person is better. The onion is a powerful antioxidant and it absorbs all the deadly bacteria in the air.

    That said, never eat an onion that has been left uncooked, and cut in half, just sitting on the counter for very many hours, because it is contaminated already with bacteria. Even if you put a half onion in a sealed plastic container in the fridge, it still absorbs bacteria and impurities. Don't eat it! It can be deadly.

    Eat only freshly peeled and sliced or well cooked onions.

    Love,
    Chris

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love onions, and I know about the old wive's tale that says that, if you put an onion next to your bed at night, it will protect you from illness. Something about the sulfur in it or something. Maybe your grandma was on to something. I had no idea about the contamination that your reader mentioned above. Wow!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm a believer in the magic of onions. I love them. When I was pregnant with my second child, I ate fried onion sandwiches almost daily. He was born healthy and strong and remained that way ever since. Of course my others were born healthy and strong too, so maybe it wasn't the onions, but he did have more zip and zing somehow. he was the daredevil who would climb onto the fence so he could take a flying leap onto the trampoline.
    Onions are rich in sulphur which is well known to be a "broom that sweeps out infection". The entire onion family including garlic and chives, leeks and shallots, is good for this.
    I think I'll have a fried onion sandwich for lunch tomorrow.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My father used to eat RAW onion sandwiches. Now that was a wonderful thing to behold!

      Delete
    2. Mmm . . . raw! Oh, the breath from that one!
      My FIL used to eat them with oranges. Slice of onion. Slice of orange. Couldn't quite bring myself to try it, though he munched happily and said they were delicious!

      Delete
  7. I eat them raw if they're red onions, love them in a green salad.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Read the excellent "Holes" by Louis Sachar for a fictional tale that includes onions as a central theme.

    ReplyDelete

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