Thursday, November 24, 2016

Sweet Onions

I may have posted this previously?  Or something like it?  The story might have changed slightly based on my 74-year-old neuronal connections.  But Thanksgiving is all about myths and tradition, so no harm.

 In 1969 on Que Son mountain, our Thanksgiving Dinner was flown in by CH-46 along with ammo resupply, PRC batteries, more Cs, and a latecomer finally released from the Regimental aid station.   The dinner was cold turkey sandwiches on white-bread, bare with no mayo.  Although they did include several heads of lettuce, many tomatoes and 'huuuge' onions. 

The onions were great.  Sweet!  We ate them and the tomatoes like apples.  Those onions must have been from either Maui or Walla Walla.  We cut the lettuce heads into wedges with K-Bars.  The sandwiches?  Not so good!  Many of us tossed those pale white spongy slices and gobbled up the turkey 'sans pain'.  They had also sent some #10 cans of dehydrated shrimp.  One of my compatriots gobbled down many of those crunchy delights without first soaking them in water.  He was a skinny little guy weighing maybe 130 or 140 pounds soaking wet, but after his stomach liquids started re-hydrating those shrimp he looked nine months pregnant and eventually had to be medevacked.  He along with another who had a broken collar bone, but that's a story for another time.

I stay away from shrimp to this day.  But I loved those onions and never found any to compare, though I have looked and tasted over the past 40 plus years.  But perhaps I have been limiting my choices.  I need to start investigating other areas:  Vidalia onions? Mattamuskeet Sweets from Coastal Carolina?  Corsican?  The Canary Islands?


  1. Mrs Av was rolling on the floor after I read the Great Shrimp Escapade to her. We spent Thanksgiving Day 1968 flying Miramite cans of Thanksgiving Dinner to troops all over III Corps. A Bn S-4 of the 1st ID had one of his cooks accompanying the food make hot turkey sandwiches for everyone in my crew as a thank you while we were enroute to a fire base. Meant more to me than the sit down dinner waiting for me back at our base camp.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all my comrades in arms here and your loved ones. May the long and interesting ride continue for many years. We will celebrate with a few of our closest Greek friends on Saturday, since today is not a holiday here.

  2. Al -

    Hope you and Mrs Aviator have happy celebration Saturday. My sister in Worcester does it on Saturday also. Calls it "Friendsgiving". Said she and her beau were having 20 friends over with a 24 pounder, two pork roasts, smoked haddock, home made mac and cheese, plus all the traditionals.

    The Shrimp Escapade was funnier at the time. We gave him no slack, called him 'shrimp-head', 'Petunia' (that was Porky's GF if you recall); we asked him who the father was, and had some other comments that are unfit for mixed company. I always wondered what happened to him. Hope he forgave us for the all the dirty dozens we directed at him while he, poor guy, was writhing in pain.

    Our turkey came in those containers also, but there was no hot gravy. I think it was in miramite just to keep it cool and from getting spoilage.

    Any sweet onions in the Greek Islands?

  3. mike-

    Local onions are very good, but not sweet. Eggs are the best we have ever eaten. Neighbors give us eggs from their "gardens". The pork is lean and flavorful. However, beef is too lean for our tastes and not aged. The lamb is magnificent. Most of our produce is locally grown and very good. We buy as much as we can from a neighbor's vegetable stand down the road. They opened it two years ago, and have slowly expanded the variety they plant. The oldest of their boys is a 5th grader and works as cashier during the summer. He has to do the bill with paper and pencil to get math practice. Weighs your items and then looks at price list and does the math. Mom says he can start using calculator next year, once he has mastered manual math.

    It's a good life and we have a lot to be thankful for.

    We will do a turkey, honey baked ham and all the fixins. Our typical residential oven is only 60 cm (23.5 in) wide, so we will also use the oven in the house next door, which is a summer place and vacant right now.

    A few years back, our local grocer proudly presented us with the frozen turkey we had special ordered, and I immediately realized that it wouldn't fit in our oven. They have a large family, and thus a much larger stove, so she didn't catch it. No problem, she said, and she made a quick phone call, and made an appointment for the bakery 5 km away to cook it for us. Mrs Av prepped it, I took it to the bakery early in the AM, they put it in their wood fired oven, and I went back at 2:30 to pick it up. Cost 5 Euro, and came out perfectly. Since then, the grocer has given maximum dimensions to her supplier when ordering a bird for us.

  4. Al -

    Hope your Friendsgiving went well today. My baby Sis is just starting hers now I imagine as it is 1pm on the east coast.

    Both you & Mrs Av and my sister & brother-in-law are the kind of hosts and hostesses that are the mainstay of communities. My mother loved to hostess all her many friends and neighbors using any occasion to bring them all together. That is probably where my sister got the bug. I, on the other hand, am somewhat of a hermit, although I do get out once in a while to swap lies and friendly insults with other old vets. My bride's health does not allow us to do the entertaining we used to do when we were younger.

  5. mike

    We had a great dinner. Much of what is considered "traditional" Thanksgiving fare, other than the turkey, is foreign to folks here. Mrs Av makes a honey baked ham which is always a hit. Our friend, Maria, has three young girls, aged 9 through 13, and they enjoy all the "American foods". Everyone ended up "stuffed" in true Thanksgiving style, and gladly took some leftovers home.