Rural Reader Writes: Sour Onion Festival


I attended the Sweet Onion Festival at Imperial last weekend and my mood soured as I found out there were no vendors of fried onion rings! I wasn’t the only consumer disappointed by this vegetable violation. I rarely hit the junk food circuit anymore, so one of my joys is to go to the local farmer’s markets, street fairs, etc. where I can sample freshly prepared local cuisine. I will not do onion rings at Jack’s, Mac’s or any other local venues. I would probably order them at In-‘n-Out, so instead, I just get my burgers with either fresh or caramelized onions.

Before I continue to wallow in self-pity, I am a positive, grateful person, so when a problem arises, I often will indulge my “attitude of gratitude.” First of all, there were onions at the festival, but they were sautéed. They were fine, but my palate was already frustrated, so they filled the belly, but did not fill the void in my onion ring-shaped soul. If we are going to have an onion festival, we need more onions, of all kinds. Especially fried onion rings.

I must say that at a vegetable booth, I got a dozen ears of corn for a dollar, and that was probably the best buy of the whole street fair. The corn was sweet and the price was perfect. Our fridge was filled with veggies, so I wasn’t shopping, but I will always get some corn. Since the wife doesn’t like corn, I have eaten a lot, and gave some away to the foodies in the family. One person can’t really do a dozen ears of corn, but it is hard to pass up such a good price.

The music at the festival was great. They played country western and it was well done, and I had the chance to watch my grandson, who is totally into contemporary music squirm. It is interesting how teens often don’t appreciate country until they become adults, have a love loss or a dog run away. The music was the best I have heard at a farmer’s market, although Brawley is running a close second.

I did enjoy the tacos of carne asada and pastor, and I tried something new. Have you ever had Tator Tots with nacho cheese and a little hot sauce? It was good, but it’s information I will hide from my cardiologist. The food was great, like many community events, but there is still the hole in the onion ring!

I am a positive person and problems are just opportunities for change. I believe the community of Imperial needs to get back to the cutting board on this very important issue. I think there are a few restaurants willing to take up the onion opportunity next year, but they just have to be asked. I have made home-made onion rings and it is not rocket science.

Also, city management needs to give God a chance to right the wrongs of this year’s rings. Imperial has some great churches, and in each church there are some seriously good cooks. The church has been breaking bread for centuries, and I am sure there was some frying going on as well. Also, don’t forget some of the Christian ministries, like Turning Point. They have a reputation for preparing great grub. Just a couple of solutions from your Helpful Uncle Harry!

I don’t just talk the talk — I am willing to walk the walk down to city hall and chair the onion ring committee! Notice I didn’t say Onion Festival Committee. Over all, the city once again did a great job, but many things can get better. Or should I say, many onion rings should get batter!

I will submit this article and call friends in Imperial later today. How about you? Do you have a good recipe for rings that the community doesn’t know about? Join the celebration of agriculture and help sweeten the deal… or the festival.