I'm a person who likes things with lots of usefulness. Thus, the humble onion gets my (up)vote!
First of all, what vegetable can beat my darling for versatility? Of course you can slice and cook and eat onions in this form, but there are also the green and "spring" onion forms (although really, a "spring" onion is just a more developed "green" onion, with a lot of the characteristics of the taste of the bulb and the leaf together). Also, if you take the bulb form, mince it, and dry or powder it, you create a fine seasoning. I like minced onion when I make soup (or improve some canned soup), and powdered onion when I make falafel and polenta.
Second: onions grow easily. Take a bulb like this and plant it in decent soil and care for it in terms of keeping it watered, and you can get two or three nice sized onions and a bunch of green onions out of every bulb. There is nothing like cooking with fresh, sweet onions right from the backyard, and if you haven't yet fried those big flowerheads you have to nip before they blossom so you get good-sized bulbs, you don't know what you are missing...
Third: Some like it sweet, others like it hot, others like it small -- there are onions for every taste! Generally, I like the big, sweet yellow onions for most things, and occasionally I like a big, sweet red -- but there are some white and purple onions that will knock your socks off! And there are small, sweet Cipollini onions perfect for grilling, and "pearl" onions perfect for that long-stewing winter meal ... and shallots, a small savory onion whose intense flavor is revered in French cooking!
Fourth: Onions have medical benefits. People who eat a lot of them neither have much incidence of cancer, heart attacks, or strokes. I'm not up on all the reasons why, but I do know from personal experience that onions are a natural blood thinner... some days of the month that part is not good for me ... but I won't go there in this post ... point being that onions are a goodly (and tasty) part of my natural blood pressure regimen most of the time!
Fifth: Even the onion peel has a use. Paper can be made from them. Many Bibles are printed in delicate onion skin paper to encourage the reader to treat the Word of God with care and reverence (and if you know how easily onion skin rips, you know what a tactile impression that leaves when handling a Bible of that type).
I like to eat onions daily, and I most often prepare them by slicing them thin so they cook fast in other things I am going to eat OR are nice raw because there is not too much at once -- about half an onion at a time. My mother likes to cook them slow and caramelize them, with or without potatoes, and we both love onion soup. My dad likes to mince onions (or have my mother mince them in advance) to put them in hamburgers to add both moisture and flavor -- he cooks them slow in the oven, allowing the onions to caramelize while the meat cooks as well. That and a slice of sweet onion on top with a bit of cheese, a good bun, and a pickle -- set for the day!
One of my aunts dispensed with the above cooking methods in her love for onions. My mother once witnessed her peeling and eating an onion like it was an apple. I do not think I will ever be that hard-core. But, even so, my aunt was right about the goodness of onions, and it remains a great favorite of mine.
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