My six year old and I love to cook together. He has embraced his title as sous chef. We often tell people that we would love to have a cooking show together on the Food Network, but we have one problem. Onions make us cry like babies.

Have you ever wondered why the chefs on TV never blink an eye when they are cutting an onion? I suppose that their skill in doing it quickly and properly helps to minimize the time exposed to the eye-irritating sulfur compounds that are released when they slice it. Sometimes I think when a particularly uninspiring cook gets a new show on TV that perhaps he or she won the job over other cooks simply because of the onion factor.

I’ve tried various tricks to make onions less potent. I’ve put them in the refrigerator for an hour before slicing. Every once in a while it helps a bit. I’ve tried slicing them close to running water. I’ve been told the sulfur is supposed to be attracted the water and float that way. No luck.

I’ve even tried slicing an onion with a spoon in my mouth. I think this method was really just a way for my friend Missy to hide a camera in my kitchen and take embarrassing pictures of me (she’s the one who told me about this). It didn’t work. I didn’t even believe it would work, but I tried it out of desperation.

The other day, though, I cut an onion without a tear in sight. How did I do it? My mom gave me Onion Goggles for Christmas. They look a bit like the goggles you used to have to wear in junior high when everyone was required to take a marking period of wood shop. I looked just as dorky wearing them as I did with that spoon in my mouth. The difference was that the Onion Goggles actually worked.

The Onion Goggles are a bit pricey – about $20 depending on why you buy them. After reading online what others had to say about them, one comment kept standing out. Swim goggles work just as well. Duh. I have swim goggles. I could have been using them for years.

I do like my Onion Goggles. They are a very thoughtful gift from my mom and everyone gets a good laugh when I wear them. My sous chef says he wants his own pair. I think we’ll just be digging his swim goggles from where the summer stuff is stored next time we’re chopping onions, though.

What measures, silly or effective, have you tried to keep your eyes from tearing when you chop onions? 

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