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How I Accidentally Became an Onion Influencer

The isolation that COVID-19 forced upon us affected everyone differently. Some people went nuts at being indoors only a week or two into the isolation while others found constructive, interesting projects to take their mind of the dread of living through a global pandemic. I was one of the latter, but while other people dedicated their time and energy to baking bread, learning to crochet, or creating macramé – mine was extraordinarily niche: I became an Instagram influencer… through a pull-cord onion slicer.

Now – this story deserves some context. Being an English teacher, I have a bit of a following among my high school students. Once I realised that a large percentage of them really didn’t know how to cook, I decided to post a few recipes on my Instagram feed… just a few staple recipes while making liberal use of Boomerang for my own amusement.

Each recipe I posted, however, had onions in it in some way or another. Even things like a simple Napoletana called for a diced onion. This led to my husband and I blindly scrabbling at our faces as horrible, stinging tears clouded our eyes. I put my foot down – this was too much.

Road to Influence

If I was going to take a shot at being a semi-legitimate influencer, onions were going to be an everyday occurrence and I refused – REFUSED! – to give them any more of my pain.


Looking to satisfy your onion craving?
Try this Creamy Vegetarian Onion and Potato soup recipe!


Later that night, I did my best to make up for the pounding onion-cry headache that we all get by finding an onion chopper. Once upon a time in our household, we did actually have an onion chopper that worked well. It was the type where you put the halved onion on a grate of razor-sharp blades and smash it through the blades with an attached arm. However, it wasn’t built super well and we were left with a bunch of blades that were warped and sad-looking after only about a year – leaving us to chop onions by hand again.

I stumbled upon this beautiful little device, the Verimark Twista Pull Chopper. It was love at first sight – instant retail therapy. I ordered it immediately and it was delivered to our house the next day. I made liberal use of it in a French Onion soup that night as I sliced and diced my way through six white onions (which were particularly strong) with nary a tear shed!

Oh, onions, how we love thee!  Let us count the ways!

Since then, it’s been featured in just about every recipe I’ve put up on my feed – onions are just so versatile! Melanzane – they’re in there. Mushroom risotto – gotta have it. French Onion Soup – no brainer! Cheeseburgers – are you kidding me? What’s a cheeseburger without caramelised onions? I don’t think so. I’m not exactly sure if onions are usually this prevalent in my cooking, or that I’ve fallen so in love with this particular cooking device that I’m just using any excuse to use it, not cry, and post about how much I love it on Instagram.

Oddly enough, having efficiently chopped onions isn’t where the story ends. Recently, I’ve been getting requests from my followers about where to get this fabled kitchen appliance that I may or may not love more than my husband and a couple of them have actually gone out and bought the thing. I haven’t exactly figured out how to contact the manufacturers to make the case that their company is only afloat thanks to me but I’m working on it.

Author picture
Tayla Blaire

Tayla Blaire is a South African writer, teacher, epicurean, and (most importantly) mother to all cats. Tayla has been thinking (and subsequently writing) about food since she was a tiny tot after her mother taught her that measuring ingredients was for the weak. If you’re interested to see what Tayla has whipped up recently, check out her Instagram profile @tayla.blaire to see the recipes that she has lovingly filmed in her very own too-small kitchen.

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