Pleasing palates for well over 200 years, batter-coated onion rings are universally (well, in our universe at least) elevated to the pinnacle of appetizer esteem.
So it’s only fitting this favorite nibble, which can be prepared by a slew of healthy methods in addition to the original deep-frying technique, should have its very own national day of celebration.
That day is June 22, and you can read all about it at https://nationaldaycalendar.com/national-onion-rings-day-june-22/ .
“National Onion Rings Day,” the site says, “recognizes a batter-dipped, deep-fried bite of deliciousness that runs rings around other appetizers.” #NationalOnionRingsDay
While we’re celebrating here in the United States, enthusiasts also love their rings in Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and parts of Asia.
No one knows the origin of this happy dish, although onions do hold the distinction of being the oldest cultivated crop in the planet’s history. So there’s that – and we suspect at some ancient juncture onions, batter and cooking came together in a moment of pure euphoria.
The earliest known recipe for the dish is called “Fried Onions with Parmesan Cheese” and is found in British chef John Mollard’s 1802 cookbook The Art of Cookery Made Easy and Refined. Mollard’s method was to cut the onions into half-inch inch rings, coat them with a batter of flour, cream, salt, pepper and Parmesan and deep-fry them in “boiling lard.” It also recommends a sauce made of melted butter and mustard to be served alongside.
Another recipe for “French Fried Onions” was published Jan. 13, 1910, in the Middleton, NY, Daily Times.
Texas eatery chain The Pig Stand, which started in Oak Cliff during the Roaring Twenties, reportedly claimed to invent inion rings, but Mollard’s recipe came more than a century earlier.
Twists on the recipe have popped up along the way, with Crisco advertising onion rings in the New York Times in 1933. And fast food latched onto the side dish in the Sixties – when music was really, really good as well – with A&W adding rings to its under-the-canopy-intercom menu.
Some of the most creative and loved variations we’ve encountered include the now iconic onion blooms that use the intact onion as well as fried onion strings, baked onion rings and an assortment of stuffed onion rings at https://tasty.co/compilation/8-onion-ring-recipes .
Whether you prefer your rings in a dining-out setting or straight from your home kitchen’s high-tech air fryer, take the opportunity to indulge on June 22. And thank the onion farmers and shippers for that smile you have.