Round and Robust


Round and robust
By Joanie Buettgen
Copyright 2010

Hectic grocery shopping on a late Friday night feels like I’m at a race track. It’s even more frightening when my mental list is blank. As I approached the local Cub store, a frantic feeling overwhelmed me. I thought I heard a dinner bell ring.

After parking my vehicle in the crowded lot, I headed into the store. The set of glass doors opened with the familiar “swish”. I entered and tried to pull out a single cart. Four carts came instead. I tried prying, shaking, and rattling them loose. It didn’t work. Finally, one cooperated. A line of anxious shoppers waited for me. We entered the store at once.

I was greeted by a vast array of colorful fruits and became hungry. I grabbed a bag of luscious Haralson apples. These crimson beauties were fresh and enticing. My mouth watered.

As I peered down the lane, mounds of round and robust vegetables greeted me. The tall displays looked like a vast mountain range. The hodgepodge included: spaghetti squash, turban squash, and acorn squash. Next in line were potatoes which included: yellow Yukon; brown baking and orange yams. Their sizes were elongated and some were miniscule. Finally, I spotted my weekly mainstay, onions.

“But which kind?” I thought to myself.

“Pick me…pick me!” The onions screamed as I held each one.

I noticed some were circular, some were oval, and some were flat as a pancake. I didn’t mind.
They also had names that reminded me of a city; or a description of a silly food item: Vidalia, Walla-Walla, or a simple purple onion. Trying to choose one of these edible orbs was a challenge. “Maybe the color would denote a particular flavor or strength of taste?”

As I recalled a favorite autumn recipe, French onion soup, I eagerly bagged six yellow beauties and tossed them into my cart.

At home I pulled out my Byerly’s cookbook. Quickly, I turned to the index and found a scrumptious recipe for my favorite French Onion soup. The instructions said to peel the onions, which were hard and crunchy. As I removed the layers I noticed many tiers on these pungent vegetables. Upon further inspection, they had a sheer membrane and silky white flesh.

After minutes of slicing these onions, a mound laid on the chopping block. I pulled out my well-seasoned sauté pan; melted the butter, and set a low flame. I added the onions to the pan. Browning these beauties was easy as they caramelized slowly in the pan.

I poured a large box of Swanson’s beef stock into a stock pot. With the temperature set to simmer, I transferred all of the onions to the pot and added salt and pepper to taste.
Saturday night dinner was delectable. The first course of French onion soup was scrumptious. In each bowl was a generous slab of melted Swiss cheese. Underneath laid thick layer of spongy croutons. There were no leftovers.

Julia Child…eat your heart out.
Published:, Minnesota Moments Magazine,, County Historical Society, Kansas City BBQ Society, Carver County News, National Barn Alliance, and Ridgeview Medical Center newsletter.
Memberships: National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Toastmaster’s, Minnesota Newspaper Association, Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop attendee.
Social Networking: Blog:,, http://www.linkedin/com/in/joaniebuettgen.


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