I may be generalizing here, but many of the Jews that I know (especially the ones in my immediately family) love to eat raw onions. They don’t eat them plain–they usually cut them into their salads or chicken dishes, but if gum hadn’t ever been invented I’d probably keep a distance of at least 15 feet from my mother and grandmother.
Here, as piece-of-evidence number one, is a giant bowl of raw onions featured prominently at the buffet at my grandmother’s retirement community. (For a more thorough tour, check out the funny food film “What Retired Folks Eat”):
The majority of folks at my grandmother’s retirement community are Jewish. This bowl is featured prominently and is filled with raw onions. Coincidence? We think not.
Here are some hypotheses:
(1) Jews spent the large bulk of their history as nomads. Onions, perhaps, are easily plantable and grow quick? I’m not a farmer so I may very well be wrong.
(2) Jews have suffered bitterly at the hands of history but maintain a sturdy disposition. Onions are bitter but also slightly sweet and almost always sturdy.
(3) Back to the nomad thing: onions are protected with layers and layers of skin, good, maybe, for throwing into your satchel as you flee Crusaders and Inquisitioners, among others.
And that, my friends, ends my theory about raw onions and Jews.