This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
" We give the name of onion to all the plants of the onion tribe. The leek is to us an onion, and so is garlic and the shallot. In old English the leek was the type, and garlic was but a gar-leek - a spear-headed leek. In the language of science, garlic is made the standard, and the onion is but a species of allium or garlic. It may be taken for granted that of all the flavoring substances used in cookery, the onion is, after salt, the most valuable; and cunningly concealed in a sauce, in a stew, or in a soup, it yields enjoyment even to those who would carefully put it from them if they saw it." "A famous epicure once said that two things were absolutely indispensable to a good dinner and without either of them the cook's art is lost. He meant the onion and the truffle. For the truffle in recent years several substitutes have been found, but the onion still holds its own unrivaled as the essence of all dishes that are prized because of their flavor. The onion is the sheet anchor of the skillful cook. It is impossible to prepare the delicate Bordelaise saure without resorting to the use of onions and a shade of garlic.
This may suprise many of those who detest the very mention of the onion, but it is nevertheless a fact, and it is the judicious use of these two seasonings that stamps the expert cook".
"Another writer, advocating their use, says: During unhealthy seasons, when diphtheria and like contagious diseases prevail, onions ought to be eaten raw at least once a week. Onions are invigorating, prophylactic beyond description".
"For a cold on the chest there is no better specific, for most persons, than well boiled or roasted onions".
Onions boiled in salted water, drained, put in cream sauce.
Cut in quarters, boiled in salted water, drained, and put into butter sauce or cream sauce.
Parboiled, drained, placed in baking pan with butter, little sugar and water, salt; basted while baking- till brown, and glazed.
Boiled onions with meat gravy.
Centers cut out, stuffed, baked.
Button onions in yellow sauce thickened with yolks.
Onions mashed through a strainer, simmered with meat glaze, served with fried bread in shapes.
Soubise sauce both white and brown, Bretoruie, etc. (See Sauces).