Scallions and green onions remind me of sweat and gasoline, so is it any wonder that I retch when someone serves me a meal “flavored” with them? Mowing the grass at my Grandmother’s house — decades ago when I was a kid - I would guide the old Snapper around the big yard, cutting grass and about half a million wild onions that pretended to be fescue. These obnoxious green demons would slice and dice under the mower’s blade and blend with the smell of gasoline, grease, red clay, and my own sweat. As I powered the mower around the imaginary race track, all I could smell was a hideous scent of nature’s worst odors married with evaporating hydrocarbons. I learned to hate that onion smell, so I was beyond consolable anytime someone stuck a green nightmare on my dinner plate and expected me to swallow it under the guise that it’s really edible. No. It’s a weed and it stinks and I’d rather eat a live slug.
I was in southern Germany about 10 years ago when I learned that the local recipes couldn’t be made without a large helping of scallions and three different kinds of sausage. Apparently you can’t even make hot tea without half a pound of bratwurst and a fistful of green weeds. After seeing scallion after scallion on my plate, I asked a waiter for a German phrase to stop the madness. My English request, “Please don’t use ANY green onions or scallions in my meal,” wasn’t working. We debated a few minutes, and then he gave me a phrase that I should use – one that I learned phonetically. For every order after that, I would just utter my phrase, and pray that the scallions wouldn’t show up. This trick worked only sparingly, but at that point in my travels, I was so sick of sausages and scallions I would have quoted Karl Marx just to keep the scallions away.
Food is a touchy topic. I love anchovies and sardines, but when I eat them, I eat alone. My father swears by coleslaw. I swear at it. I suppose if ice cream cones grew wild, just waiting to be run down by a sweaty teenager on a Snapper riding mower, we’d learn to hate them too. The aroma of butter pecan or fudge brownie mixed with gasoline, sweat, and grease? Think about that one
David McCoy, a notorious storyteller and proud Yellow Jacket, lives in Covington. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.