I used to wear ski goggles in the kitchen. Why? Because I have super-sensitive eyes and chopping onions makes my eyes sting like crazy. Just a quarter of the way through and I'm running out of the kitchen, tears streaming down my face.
It doesn't have to be this way.
I've learned how to cut an onion without crying. No gimmicks, no tricks like putting the root ball on top of your head. Just a couple of simple steps related to the right gadget and proper technique.
Okay, so there are two main keys to chopping an onion without tears.
1. Use the right knife. Don't use a serrated knife! Do use a big chef's knife like the one I'm holding above. Make sure it's the best knife you can afford (hey, IKEA makes some pretty respectable knives for pretty cheap) and that it's plenty sharp.
Don't have one? A good knife will change how you feel about cooking. I'm just saying.
2. Slice, don't chop. You want to avoid crushing the onion cells and releasing their wicked oniony tear gas. Here's how:
A couple other things help out a little, like chilling the onion first in the refrigerator and wetting your knife before you use it.
Now go forth and slice onions!
By the way, Jolene Sugarbaker caught my post on her cooking show and created a tribute to her knife skills. Love it. Hey, I'm not a pro, either, and I'm still working on my knife skills, too! We home cooks are all in this together.