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Creamed Onions

The first time creamed onions appeared on our Thanksgiving table was when I was about 8 or 9. It's still the one dish I dream about as Thanksgiving approaches. When Uncle Bill married, his mother-in-law, Blanche Loni, began to attend our holiday gatherings. Her contribution was an immediate hit. Creamed onions were familiar fall fare when she was growing up in Indiana in the early 1900s. Everyone had big gardens, but they couldn't really keep produce through the winter. When the last of the onions were dug, the small ones were saved and used for creamed onions.

Since my family is 2,000 miles away, I have to make my own dish of onions and I've always used frozen. However, to use fresh, merely buy tiny, fresh onions, peel them, and boil them until soft.

3 bags frozen Bird's Eye tiny onions (boiled according to package directions and water reserved)
2 1/2 cups half and half
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Melt butter over low heat, gradually stir in flour, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat. Slowly stir in half and half and onion water. Cook on low heat and stir until the mixture boils. Boil and stir 1 minute, stir in the onions.

The Secret: While researching this recipe I accidentally found out the reason there were never any leftover creamed onions. My mom, who said she wouldn't be surprised if they were served at the first Thanksgiving, hides them because she discovered they go even better with steak than they do with turkey. I'm telling.

Kelly D. Burgess

Thursday, November 18, 1999

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