Cooking Index - Cooking Recipes & IdeasCookbook Review - Onions Without Tears - Cooking Index

Onions Without Tears

Author: Lindsey Bareham


'Onions Without Tears: Cooking with Onions and Shallots, Garlic and Leeks' is one of my favourite cookbooks. As Bareham notes, so many recipes start with the instruction 'first take an onion' and the various members of the onion family are one of the basic building blocks of most meals.

Penguin scandalously allowed Onions Without Tears to go out of print but it seems public demand finally forced them to re-issue it.

The book starts off with a brief history of alliums (the collective name for all the offspring of the onion family) in history, details on suppliers and how best to store them. Bareham then goes on to talk about the best equipment for preparing alliums, including crucial tips for how to peel onions without crying.

Onions Without Tears then proceeds to go through a huge range of allium recipes, divided according to how they are prepared. The chapters are:

  • Alliums for Their Own Sake (ie eating them on their own)
  • As A Seasoning
  • As A Condiment
  • Allium With Other Ingredients (divided into stocks; soups; salads and dressings; with eggs; with other vegetables; with bread, pastry and pancakes; with pasta, rice, grains, pulses and dried beans; with seafood; with meat and poultry)

Bareham ranges across a wide range of cuisines, from Welsh (Cawl) to Mauritian (Mauritian Peanut Relish) to Thai (Thai Salsa). What is clear throughout is how well researched the book is, how eminently cookable and eatable the recipes are (there are very few recipes you would not want to try) and how enthusiastic she is for her subject. I refer to this book at least once a week and would recommend it as a ‘core’ book for anyone’s kitchen.


Penguin Cookery Library, 1997, £12.99, 356 pages


Joe Saumarez Smith (20 February, 2007)

Buy Onions Without Tears now at Amazon