theadanews.com - Ada, Oklahoma

Community News Network

November 11, 2013

You're doing it wrong: French onion soup

According to Gallic lore, onion soup was invented when King Louis XV found himself stranded at a hunting lodge late one night with nothing in the pantry except onions, butter and champagne. This story is obviously apocryphal. For one thing, onion soup has been made for as long as there have been fire, water, people and onions; it didn't need some peckish monarch to invent it. For another, proper onion soup takes hours to prepare — if you were urgently hungry late at night, it would be one of the least efficient things you could make. Also, isn't squandering champagne tantamount to flag-burning in France? I suspect that this hunting lodge legend has more to do with Louis XV's popular image as a debaucherous do-nothing king than with French onion soup per se.

But the legend does get two things right: One, French onion soup is the perfect thing to eat after spending a long day enjoying the great outdoors (especially when it's chilly outside); two, French onion soup should satisfy refined palates. You're on your own for that first thing, but I can help with the second.

The key to good French onion soup is to cook the onions so long that they threaten to melt into a viscous, dark brown paste, à la Marmite. There are no shortcuts when you're caramelizing onions; it always takes at least an hour, usually longer. And it's better to err on the side of low heat than to try to speed things up by ratcheting the heat up to medium — the higher the heat, the more likely it is that the onions will scorch when you walk away from them.

Many people will tell you the other key to good French onion soup is to use homemade stock. (Beef is traditional; chicken is perfectly good; vegetable is fine in my book, although I am well aware that many consider it comparable to a "liquefied compost heap.") It's true that homemade stock is superior to storebought, and it's also true that you can make stock in about the same amount of time it'll take you to caramelize your onions, but I am nonetheless not a stickler on this point. I would never use bouillon cubes, which are as boring as the sex lives of Arcade Fire (according to one cranky music critic). But there are some decent commercial stocks sold in cartons, and I'm fond of the jarred concentrated pastes that are meant to be diluted into something very much resembling good stock.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Community News Network
  • linda-ronstadt.jpg Obama had crush on First Lady of Rock

    Linda Ronstadt remained composed as she walked up to claim her National Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony Monday afternoon.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Can black women have it all?

    In a powerful new essay for the National Journal, my friend Michel Martin makes a compelling case for why we need to continue the having-it-all conversation.

    July 29, 2014

  • Dangerous Darkies Logo.png Redskins not the only nickname to cause a stir

    Daniel Snyder has come under fire for refusing to change the mascot of his NFL team, the Washington Redskins. The Redskins, however, are far from being the only controversial mascot in sports history.  Here is a sampling of athletic teams from all areas of the sports world that were outside the norm.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 28, 2014

  • Fast food comes to standstill in China

    The shortage of meat is the result of China's latest food scandal, in which a Shanghai supplier allegedly tackled the problem of expired meat by putting it in new packaging and shipping it to fast-food restaurants around the country

    July 28, 2014

  • wd saturday tobias .jpg Stranger’s generosity stuns Ohio veteran

    Vietnam War veteran David A. Tobias was overwhelmed recently when a fellow customer at an OfficeMax store near Ashtabula, Ohio paid for a computer he was purchasing.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 1.33.11 PM.png VIDEO: High-dive accident caught on tape

    A woman at a water park in Idaho leaped off a 22-foot high dive platform, then tried to pull herself back up with frightening results. Fortunately, she escaped with only a cut to her finger.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • CATS-DOGS281.jpg Where cats are more popular than dogs in the U.S.-and all over the world

    We all know there are only two types of people in the world: cat people and dog people. But data from market research firm Euromonitor suggest that these differences extend beyond individual preferences and to the realm of geopolitics: it turns out there are cat countries and dog countries, too.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • How spy agencies keep their 'toys' from law enforcement

    A little over a decade ago, federal prosecutors used keystroke logging software to steal the encryption password of an alleged New Jersey mobster, Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., so they could get evidence from his computer to be used at his trial.

    July 25, 2014

  • Russia's war on McDonald's takes aim at the Filet-o-Fish

    Russia said earlier this week that it had no intention of answering Western sanctions by making it harder for Western companies to conduct business in Russia.
    But all bets are off, apparently, when you threaten the Russian waistline.

    July 25, 2014

AP Video
Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins
Stocks
Poll

Are you pleased that Oklahoma has repealed Common Core standards for public school students?

Yes
No
     View Results