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A&W Restaurants Are Credited With Popularizing Onion Rings In Fast Food Restaurants During The 1960s

On June 22nd, National Onion Rings Day recognizes a batter-dipped, deep-fried bite of deliciousness that runs rings around other appetizers.

Also found in Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, and some parts of Asia, onion rings exact origin are unknown.

  • The oldest known cultivation of onion dates back to around 5,000 BCE.
  • In ancient Egypt, onions were worshiped. It was believed by ancient Egyptians that concentric rings and the spherical shape of the onions were symbols of eternity.
  • A recipe called “Fried Onions with Parmesan Cheese” is included in John Mollard’s 1802 cookbook The Art of Cookery Made Easy and Refined. Within the recipe, it suggests cutting onions into 1/2 inch rings, dipping them into a batter made of flour, cream, salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese then deep-frying them in boiling lard. It also recommends serving them with a sauce made of melted butter and mustard.
  • Some believe that a recipe for French Fried Onions (not claiming to be the originator of the recipe) appeared in the Middletown, NY Daily Times on January 13, 1910.
  • The Pig Stand restaurant chain, established in Oak Cliff, Texas in the early 1920s, is one of the claimants to the onion rings invention.
  • A recipe for deep-fried onion rings dipped in milk then dredged in flour appeared in a 1933 Crisco advertisement in The New York Times Magazine.  
  • In the 1960s, the A&W restaurant is credited with popularizing the onion rings in fast food restaurants.
  • The US produces more than 2 million metric tons of onions annually.
  • Americans consume 20 pounds per person annually.
  • China is the world’s largest producer of onions.
  • The per capita onion consumption of Libya per year is a whopping 66.8 pounds.
  • Eating parsley will help get rid of onion breath.
  • The fastest time to peel 50 pounds of onions is 2 minutes 39 seconds.
  • Outback Steakhouse’s Bloomin’ Onion has 1948 calories and 160gms of fat.
  • General Ulysses S. Grant told the federal government, “I will not move my army without onions!”
  • One onion ring ends up in every Burger King order of fries.  This serves to remind customers that BK offers more options than McDonald’s.
  • Spaceballs: The Animated Series produced an episode called “Lord of the Onion Rings.”
  • In 2017, Culver’s served 9,326,744 orders of Onion Rings. That’s more Onion Rings than there are people in Culver’s home state of Wisconsin!
  • Most of Culver’s white onions come from the Treasure Valley region of Idaho and Oregon, where approximately 21,000 acres of onions are planted every year.
  • Onion is considered to have antiseptic properties, and hence, it was heavily used during war times to heal wounds.
  • A meta-analysis done in 2015 shows that onions play a vital role in reducing risk of gastric cancer.
  • The risk of several types of cancer such as ovarian cancer, laryngeal cancer, colorectal cancer, etc. can be reduced significantly by consuming up to 7 servings of onions per week. Onions have Quercetin – a very potent anti-cancer agent.


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