The Master said: ‘Olives and onions must suffice to provide a relish for bread for two meals’.
It was most common to use these as garnishes on bread. But onions present their own problem:
Is it, however, permitted to prepare all erub from onions? . . . For it was taught: ‘If a man ate an onion and [was found] dead early [on the following morning] there is no need to ask what was the cause of his death’
Oops. Maybe they’re more to those onion rings than bad breath!
I mean, it can get really bad:
Our Rabbis taught: No one should eat onion on account of the poisonous fluid it contains; and it once happened that R. Hanina ate half an onion and half of its poisonous fluid and became so ill that he was on the point of dying. His colleagues, however, begged for heavenly mercy, and he recovered because his contemporaries needed him.
Umm, I’ll pass – thanks.
Samuel stated: This was taught in respect of the leaves only but against [the eating of] the bulbs there call be no objection;
and even regarding the leaves this has been said only where the onion has not grown [to the length of] a span but where it has grown to that length there can be no objection.
Whew! Bring ‘em on. But wait, it gets better:
R. Papa said: This has been said only where one drank no beer [with them] but where one did drink some beer there can be no danger.
In fact, beer’s a meal:
it is usual for people to drink one cup in the morning and another in the evening and to rely upon these [as their meals].
Breakfast of champions! And dinner, too.