Onions (was Re: DWJ birthday card(s))

Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at indigo.ie
Thu Aug 19 18:46:45 EDT 2004


>I have a memory of Odysseus (in the Odyssey) eating a (presumably raw)
>onion in a boat, possibly after a shipwreck, which keeps jumping up and
>down and tugging at the sleeve of my brain.* I think it stuck in my mind
>because I had an image of him eating it like an apple, and I was thinking
>"But why does he have an *onion* in the boat?" So maybe he was Dutch. I
>think we should be told.

Hopefully the words 'displacement activity' will be sufficient and I 
won't need to give detailed descriptions of my attempts to find 
mention of Odysseus eating an onion.  Anyway, the only onion I could 
find which goes near someone's mouth was in the Iliad rather than the 
Odyssey and has nothing to do with Odysseus, but is far weirder than 
anyone's having an onion in a boat.  It's the 'Pramneian wine' served 
for Nestor - a delightful mixture of wine, grated goat's milk cheese 
and barley.  And 'onion to go with the drinking'.  Yum.   (Circe also 
makes the drink but there's no mention of the onion, which is a bit 
of a relief.)

Mind you, I don't see anything that unlikely about this scene's being 
somewhere - just think of all those helpful women sending Odysseus 
(however reluctantly) on his way well stocked with supplies.


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