“If it’s a vegetable, just cover it in dough and fry away the nature.”
~George Washington’s little-known cook book
In America, we like our food like we like our cars: fast, greasy, and with scores of open containers of alcohol. There’s a reason why you can’t think of a worthwhile American painter from the past 50 years but you can name a dozen fried food items you’ve ordered at a bar at one point in your life (French fries, jalapeno poppers, fried mushrooms, mozzarella sticks, chicken fingers, nachos, fried shrimp, chicken wings, need we go on?) Yes, fried foods are delicious and unhealthy and sometimes involve beer, and we’ve told you plenty about the absurd combination of fried food goodness that exists in this nation. But every so often, it’s time for us to take a step back and praise something absurdly unhealthy, yet so common place that we almost forget how special it truly is.
What we’re trying to say is…dammit Onion Rings, we can’t seem to quit you. Here. Have a fun fact. A delicious, greasy fun fact.
We’re a classy enterprise, so we don’t feel it prudent to point out that this looks like a penis.
Onion Rings are an enigma. They’re one of the most unhealthy things you can think of, but their main ingredient is a vegetable, which the damn vegetable lobbyists have brainwashed us into thinking are “healthy.” And yes, onions theoretically have a lot of “health benefits” and can help “cure stomach ailments” provided you don’t “overcook the everloving shit out of them.”
Which brings us to the classic “fried foods” loophole of American culture. The same properties that make raw onions healthy also allow onion rings to soak up more grease. So, somewhere out there, the creator of Onion Rings wanders, no doubt leaving a sea of out-of-business all-you-can-eat buffets in his wake.
Now, who invented the Onion Ring? Well, if we go to answers.com, the answer is simple. “Danaiel Steven Blairs dog scar he has a curly tail.” Wait, what?
The truth of the matter is that knowing the identity of the inventor of the Onion Ring is like knowing the identity of the inventor of trans fats, by which we mean to say that the person who invented Onion Rings almost definitely invented trans fats. What we do know is that the first ever recipe for an Onion Ring appeared in a 1933 issue of the New York Times Magazine, which had an advertisement for Crisco that involved dipping onion rings in milk and flour before deep frying them. We at AFFotD think that is wonderful, and fully encourage more companies to have advertisements that help teach us new and colorful ways to express our love of massive coronaries.
Now, Crisco didn’t invent Onion Rings, just like Crisco didn’t invent greased-up pig wrestling. And just like you don’t have to use Crisco when you’re greased up on all fours chasing after a squealing farm animal, there are many different variations of Onion Rings, all of which are delicious and devoid of anything that resembles “nutrition.” And full disclosure, our writing staff had to google search that word to find its proper spelling. That’s to give you an idea how much we are behind the unhealthiness of Onion Rings.
An Onion Ring, by definition, is a ring of onion that has been breaded and deep fried. Onions are naturally shaped in a way to make rings, and these are often used and easily procured for the making of Onion Rings, but there are some variants that feel that this is “too close to nature” so they just make circles out of onion paste instead. That is such a middle finger to nature, and we love it. Because making Onion Rings out of a man made paste essentially tells nature, “So, you made this vegetable so that it has rings. And we want to fry these rings, but we don’t think you do circles well enough, so we’ll just make them on our own.”
And in the end it doesn’t matter, because anyone who has ever told you that they had a “bad Onion Ring” is a dirty liar, and probably a Communist.
Onion Rings, like most American cuisine, is simple in theory, but has limitless potential. Want to put Cajun spices and beer in the batter? Fucking do it. Beer, cornstarch, and potato flakes more your jam? We stopped listening after you said beer again, we’re just so happy right now. Low-fat Onion Rings that don’t have beer, and instead uses egg whites? We hate you and hope you burn in hell.
You know you’ve found a good Onion Ring when you wonder if the smell of grease will ever leave your fingers (it will not).
If you eat enough Onion Rings in one sitting, you will temporary black out. When you wake up again you’ll be naked inside the burned ruins of a Jenny Craig center. Luckily for you, “The Onion Rings made me do it” is still a viable legal defense in every state but Hawaii.
While we might not know who specifically invented the Onion Ring, we at leat know that Onion Rings are important enough to deserve their own national day (yes, June 22nd is technically “National Onion Ring Day”) We also know that they are scientifically designed to eat with greasy food, and preferably with alcohol. They’re the only thing delicious and unhealthy enough to be able to stand side-by-side with French Fries, and if you ever buy more than a pound at a time, a cowboy shows up and buys you a shot of bourbon. It doesn’t matter where you are. In fact, this is the reason why AA meetings feature coffee, but never offer onion rings.
“Suppose’n you were to give ME one of them rings…”
So next time you meet a Cardiologist and he asks you about your dietary habits, just start laughing at him and stuff his mouth fill with Onion Rings. He won’t even be that upset. They’re just that good.