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onion rings recipe

I continue to be amused by the debates about food, and who owns what. I think the Chinese might have something to say about noodles being Italian, a recent delivery of Montreal bagels prompted some followers to say that they were happy I have found the true bagel (I think a few Eastern Europeans might have something to say about that…) And coffee may have been perfected to a high art by the fine folks in Italy, but I think Africans and Arabs, who’ve had a long, rich history with the brew, were sipping the stuff before any of us.

Onion Rings

Few cultures truly “own” dishes that we think. But I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that I think onion rings were probably born (or at least bred, because I’m sure someone wiser than I knows otherwise) in America. Another thing that is pretty unique to America is Hooters. Well, except for the fact that they have Hooters around the world, including one I saw in Berlin, as well as in Vodičkova, Interlaken (in case you don’t believe me, check out the video), and even in 上海 – although for some reason, they haven’t made it to France.

Yet the French love onion rings, at least according to my one unrepresentative sample at home. And we go to New York, even though the translation doesn’t quite describe them quite accurately (oignons panés?) – the most Parisian of Parisians can’t resist the crunchy allure of crisp-fried onions, even if it’s served by a middle-aged American wearing pajama bottoms in his kitchen, rather than a buxom beauty strutting her stuff.

onion for onion rinngs

So what am I doing with The Hooters Cookbook? (Aptly subtitled, “Food, Fun, and Friends Never Go Out of Style) Well, I went to a holiday party and there was a White Elephant gift exchange, and when The Hooters Cookbook landed in someone else’s lap, it took all of my wits not to grab the shiny volume and make a run for it. Then I learned that the rule of the exchange includes a provision that you can take anyone else’s gift that you want when it’s your turn.

Because I didn’t want to be saddled with the reputation in France as “the guy that took The Hooters Cookbook from that poor woman at the Paris Christmas party”, I asked her if she was really all that attached to it. And I’ve never had anyone hand something over to me so fast, so I felt fine relieving her of this sure-to-be classic cookbook. And that was me, gleefully heading home on the métro afterward, clutching my Hooters cookbook, which people were eyeing with a bit of jealously. So I held it even tighter until I was safely off the train.

onions for onion rings frying onion rings

Much to my chagrin, I’ve never been to Hooters. I pleaded with friends to have my going away party there when I moved away from San Francisco. But I think they were still mad at me for making them go to Benihana with me one night, so we didn’t go. (In another instance of things where I just can’t win, some of my lesbian friends still aren’t talking to me because we didn’t go to Hooters.) But with this book now firmly in my possession, I can make “Don’t Be Crabby” Dip, Mama Sue’s Chili (although where am I going to find 2 packages of Chili Seasoning Mix?), Roasted Veggie Mishmash (*wince*), and Papricot Chicken at home if I want to.

There’s also a recipe for a 7-Layer Salad from Lynne Austin who is the original Hooters girl, who says it’s the perfect dish to take “to a PTA meeting.” But I think not a lot would get done by the men at that meeting – and maybe a few of the women – if she showed up dressed like she is in the book. Yet I have to hand it to her – she’s pretty smart because if she cooks dressed like some of the pictures I’ve seen of her, she didn’t have to worry about getting too many of her clothes dirty. (On the other hand, I would recommend being a little more modest when deep-frying.)

And for those of you didn’t know you could make your own iced tea, which never occurred to me until the book said that they were going to reveal a big secret to us readers – which was that, yes! – you could make your own iced tea…who knew? So I’m happy to have a recipe for that as well. Which is a good thing, ’cause I need to cool down from looking at Lynne. Er, I mean her well-stacked 7-Layer Salad.

Hooter's Culinary Academy Graduation

Unfortunately I didn’t have the six tea bags necessary to make ice tea. But I did have some onions and decided to tackle onion rings, which the recipe said would make my taste buds “do the wave.” I tried to translate that into French, which was a bit more of a challenge than I was ready to tackle, so I decided to let that one pass.

When I was done and all my onions had been dipped, fried and salted, I was thrilled to find in the back of the book, a certificate from “Chef Hootie, Dean of Man Food” which I signed. And what better way to celebrate my successful graduation?

onion rings

Onion Rings

Inspired by The Hooters Cookbook (Arnica) I know they like things spicy at Hooters, and the recipe in the book called for a whopping 1 tablespoon of ground black pepper and 2 tablespoons of “your favorite hot sauce.” I ended up using the mix below, although it you want to give them a try, you can come up with your own spices and seasonings. Ideally you should use a sweet onion, such as Vidalia.
Servings 4 servings
  • 1 cup (140g) flour, plus more for dusting the onions
  • or 3/4 cup (110g) flour, plus 1/4 (35g) cornmeal
  • 1 cup (250ml) beer
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper powder, (I used ancho chile powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and cut in 1/3-inch (1 cm) thick rings
  • Peanut oil, for frying the onion rings
  • Mix the flour (or flour and cornmeal) in a bowl and stir in the beer, black and red pepper, and salt. Cover, and let sit one hour at room temperature.
  • In a wide saucepan or skillet, heat about 2 inches (5 cm) peanut oil until it reaches 370ºF (180ºC.)
  • Spread some flour on a plate and working in batches, toss 5 or 6 of the onion rings in the flour, then dip each one in the batter, shaking off any excess, then dropping them one at a time into the hot oil.
  • Cook the onion rings for a few minutes, turning them with a slotted spon or other utensil with holes, until browned on both sides. Remove and set on paper towels, or on a wire cooling rack above paper towels, to drain. While warm, salt the onion rings with additional salt. Continue to fry the rest of the onions the same way. Eat immediately.

Related Recipes

Hooters Hot Wings (Copykat Recipes)

Merguez Corndogs

Baked Rosemary Onion Rings (Food Doodles)

Barbecue Baked Onion Rings (Joy the Baker)

Pickled Red Onions


    • Sis

    Haha, I remember one Christmas someone brought the Spam Cookbook to our white elephant party. It got lots of laughs but no one fought over it — although after reading your post maybe I should have. When I was a kid my parents would drive to a little town in west Texas to eat the thickest juiciest steaks, eat the BEST fried onion rings, and drink beer(not me at my age) out if the biggest stemmed clunkers I’ve ever seen. For some reason I never tried to make onion rings, but now that’s all changed! My husband used to want to go to Hooters — maybe it was because of the onion rings but I don’t thing so :)

    • Nuts about food

    You crack me up! Have a great week end.

    • Melissa Belanger

    I live in Angers right now and my husband plays hockey here. The fans totally do the wave at the games perhaps I can find the translation for you. I have to say I loved reading the part about making iced tea. Made me laugh a little out loud. I think I’ll be making these onion rings next time I have friends here for an American food night! Thanks for sharing!

    • T. Tilash

    I am guilty of being french and loving onion rings… but for some reason I always thought you need big and sweet american onions to make them, and the small and more pungent french onions wouldn’t work. Were your onions particularly sweet or did you just use any kind from the market ?

    I think I might give it a try pretty soon, you may have awoken the monster in my stomach…grarlllrlrl… yep, you did, it’s awake now.

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Yes, you should use sweet onions although as you mentioned, they’re not widely available here. I did add a note to the headnote; I did use regular yellow onions though, and mine were very tasty ; )

    • Annabel

    You are, of course, joking about not realising you could make your own iced tea? I mean the proper stuff, not the soft drink the French call iced tea (which I tried again recently and continue to dislike the artificial fruit aftertaste)… The Lipton “agrumes” teabags make great iced tea – just brew as normal and pour over ice cubes! Or use ordinary black tea and add a slice of lemon. One of the things I love about the USA is when you go to restaurants there and they have fresh, unsweetened iced tea from a “fountain” (as I think it is called). I do mostly prefer my tea hot, of course, being English, but there are times when iced tea is simply the perfect drink!

    • Sis

    Or maybe I’ll just go to that little cafe down on St. Mary’s street in San Antonio and order some for lunch — they come with the best dipping sauce…

    • deana

    I love that no matter how far we stray from our roots, our little food spirit longs for tastes of home. Once upon a time it was mother’s bread or a cassoulet. These days, it’s often a “fast food” item that reminds us of home.

    For me, moving from the midwest to the east, it was corn dogs. Every time I make them (root beer on the side) I taste a little bit of home in every bite. Yeah, I love perfect fish at Bernadin, but corn dogs are great.

    Onion rings, whether from Hooters or Burgers R Us gives the same thrill, doesn’t it? It’s a great recipe. Thanks for sharing it (who would have thought, a Hooter’s cookbook?). Bravo, I can’t wait to try them.

    • T. Tilash

    Ok, I’ll hunt for sweet onions, and if not… meh… regular onions will do !

    • Teresa

    I got another unlikely gem at a Yankee swap. The” babe the movie” cookbook. Who knew? There are actually several winning recipes in it. Random.

    • Misty P

    I am not sure about “who owns what” in terms of food ingredients.

    But I do know that those onion rings are making me seriously hungry!

    I am going to have to try making these. Though, I do have to admit that in the short term reading this is making me feel oddly drawn to go and get a McDonalds…

    Does this make me a bad person?

    • BeccaChi

    Is the oil temp correct? It seems a bit low…

    • stephanie

    Great and interesting post as always. If you are still looking for that translation, in quebec we do say “faire la vague”. I believe the expression is also used in France!

    • David
    David Lebovitz

    BeccaChi: Oof, in one it was right, but the conversion was off (celsius vs fahrenheit.) Thanks for catching that. Someday, I hope that everyone will decide to use the same system. It would sure make my life a lot easier ; )

    MistyP: I’m not a fan of McD, but the do have fries down. A French friend was surprised most Americans don’t have deep-fryers in our homes, since he told me every French home has one – because we are known for loving deep-fried food. But I told him in most cases, we left it to the professionals, since they had better equipment…and clean-up crews!

    • Taina

    “the wave” = une vague mexicaine (although it might just be Genevois dialect)

    Why, I don’t know.

    • amy @southern sweets and eats

    You never know where you might find culinary gold, huh? I do love, love, love a good onion ring. I am tackling homemade ketchup this weekend, so I may just have to whip these up just to have something wonderful for the kids to dip.

    • Gigi

    Thanks for this hilarious post! I followed the link for The Hooters Cookbook on Amazon, and interestingly enough, there are NO user reviews for this title! David, I’m thinking you can remedy this! :)

    • Michelle

    hilarious!! thank you for a good laugh…

    • Cassandra

    From the love-at-first-sight ogling of this wayward cookbook to the recipe names to the description of the original Hooter’s gal, you had me in stitches. Here’s to more book reviews, David!

    • Judith

    This entire post is a hoot, as we say in Texas. (No pun intended.) The onion rings sound like something even I could make half-way successfully especially with the awesome Texas 1015 onion now available in stores. As to the cookbook revealing we could make ice tea at home, I wonder why they didn’t say the same for coffee? There are actually people who don’t know how to make coffee and think they have to go to Starbucks. Finally, David, I absolutely agree that we should all use the same measurement system! In the late 1960’s, a physics teacher announced that the US would move to the metric system and even back then, I realized it was the way to go. C’est dommage.

    • Phil in France

    I mentioned this on the twitters, but you can use oignons doux des cevennes, they’re pretty close in terms of taste. I tried to be all science-y and find out if it’s to do with the lack of sulfur content in the soil, like it is with vidalias, but all I can see on the fiche pour the DOP is that it’s grown in soil that’s typically derived from the massif des Cévennes, which is granite & schiste, which degrades to a sandy soil with a bit of clay. says, “Soil must be sandy enough to let sulfur wash through to the clay below. Sulfur is what makes onions hot and pungent, so low sulfur creates mild, sweet onions. In South Georgia, we receive about 50 inches of rain annually, which helps leach sulfur out of the sandy root zone.”

    That sounds pretty similar in terms of soil content to me, and in terms of rainfall, well, there’s this:

    • Claire

    God, man, the pictures are killing me! I’ve got a big ole Vidalia onion in my produce basket at home and I see these onion rings in my future for tomorrow. I guess I’ll have to go to the convenience store for a can of beer, since there’s none in the house. Again, I’d give my big toe for taste/smell-o-vision when reading your blog. Oh, does the oil have to be peanut? Or would any good vegetable oil do?

    • Foodfreak

    Those onion rings look awesome, and the post is a hoot, seriously :) – but I beg to differ on the heritage of onion rings (ha! somebody had to, right?) Best onion rings I’ve had in my life were Indian, along the lines of onion bhaji and pakoras, with a lovely crisp batter based on chickpea flour and rice flour. Doesn’t mean the onion rings above aren’t just what I want now, with a bottle of cold beer on the side… :D

    • David
    David Lebovitz

    Claire: You can use any oil although peanut oil is a lot better for frying, so I recommend it.

    Phi: Thanks – I’ve never bought those onions, although I see them from time-to-time.

    Judith: I just spent an inordinate amount of time doing metric conversions, and so forth (and when I say “inordinate” I mean weeks..) so it would be great if we could all use the same system. I wrote a little about why I think the US never adopted it in my Paris book, I think. But I also remember the whole movement in America to switch.

    • Barb | Creative Culinary

    Love the onion rings; just despise Hooters. I will never forget hearing that my father took my two young daughters there for lunch. Way to go Dad…not the sort of stuff I wanted modeled for them; you know, the women as objects thing?

    This recipe very similar to what I make, down to the bit of hot pepper seasoning. They are quite simply addictive and I would be quite happy with some right now for breakfast!

    • Nancy

    I’ve frequently smiled and often chuckled while reading something in your blog but this morning I laughed out loud throughout, nearly ending in a full coffee spit-take!

    • Amélie

    Great post! For the record, in Quebec, we call them “rondelles d’oignons”, which I think is a much better equivalent than “oignons panés”.

    • Pamela

    David, down here in the south of France Carrefour sells chill mix – in a purple envelope beside the bottled spices. Franprix probably does too. Just in case you change your mind about the chill. At home in Toronto I’d make my own mix but here it does the trick – it’s ok-fine.

    • Kate

    RE metric v imperial, I highly recommend Ken Alder’s book ‘The Measure of All Things’. Fascinating story of the invention of the metric system.

    From Amazon (
    ”THE MEASURE OF ALL THINGS tells the story of how science, revolutionary politics, and the dream of a new economy converged to produce both the metric system and the first struggle over globalization.

    Amidst the scientific fervor of the Revolution two French scientists, Delambre and Mechain, were sent out on an expedition to measure the shape of the world and thereby establish the metre (which was to be one ten-millionth the distance from pole to equator). Their hope was that people would use the globe as the basis of measure rather than an arbitrary system meted out by the monarchs. As one scientist went north along the French meridian and the other south, their experiences diverged just as radically. After seven years, they received a hero’s welcome upon their return to Paris. Mechain, however, was obsessed over a minute error in his calculations that he’d discovered and concealed, and which eventually drove him to his grave. His death forced his colleague Delambre to choose between loyalty to his friend and his science.”

    • Merisi in Vienna

    Thanks for the chuckle, and the great recipe!

    Soaking the onion rings for a few minutes in lukewarm water takes the bite out of common yellow onions. Let most of the water drip off in a sieve, then blot the rings dry.

    • Shelly

    Hi david. Can I make them with red onion? Will they taste different? Thanks.

    • Nathalie

    “the wave” = une “ola”

    doing the wave = faire une ola

    • C in BE

    Those onion rings look divine!

    Your recreation of the Hooters recipe has given me the opening I have wanted for a question I have been thinking of sending you for a while related to recreating a “brand name” recipe. I discovered La Ferme du Manège yogurts a while ago in France and am obsessed with them. I love the noisette and caramel beurre salé flavors. I have been living in Belgium for a few years and I finally tracked them down and have spent hours fighting Brussels traffic to get them. I will be leaving to go back to the US soon. The yogurt in Europe in general tastes so much better and natural to me than what is in the US so I am going to try to make my own when I go back and want to try to recreate the Ferme du Manège flavors. Any tips? If you haven’t tried this brand, check it out at a Daily Monop’ or the Bon Marché. Before I found it in Brussels, I would sometimes load a small cooler with it tobtake back on the Thalys.

    Love your blog! Thanks for sharing your stories and recipes.

    • ron shapley(NYC)

    Ok Dave… You have me intrigued. I’m going to Hooter’s today to see what all the fuss is about…………..I’ll report back !!!

    • MissLindy

    If you will send me your address, I shall send you some Wick Fowler’s chili spice mix.

    • Deeli

    David, don’t forget the Hooter’s onion ring dipping sauce ;-)

    8 oz Tabasco Sauce
    3 tbsp brown sugar
    2 tbsp ketchup

    Mix ingredients in a small sauce pan and simmer, stirring often, over medium low heat for 10 minutes. Let cool before serving.

    • Nancy@acommunaltable

    David, you definitely need a warning on your blog posts – “don’t read with your morning coffee” because mine ALMOST ended up all over my laptop!! If you weren’t such a talented pastry chef and writer, I’d say you should seriously consider doing stand up.

    You are absolutely right about “who owns what” in terms of recipes. I teach a cultural foods class at our local junior college and we delve into the history of different cuisines and the truth is people have always loved to share food – ingredients, recipes, cooking techniques, etc. I’ve been fascinated tracing the migration of dishes from one culture to another.
    Hmm… this summer I am teaching my son and his fraternity brothers how to cook – thinking I should probably pick up this cookbook for them – I am sure it would be a hit – LOL!!

    • David
    David Lebovitz

    Nancy: Food comes from so many places. Of course, being a nation of immigrants, many of our foods in America come from somewhere else, even though they foods have become associated with the US.

    C in BE: I don’t buy flavored yogurts (although I love most things with salted butter caramel) so don’t know that brand – sorry! My friend Stephanie from Copykat Recipes thought perhaps that you could use one of those yogurts to culture a batch of milk at home, to make your own yogurt with that culture. You can get powdered cultures in France, since we used to use them at Chez Panisse to make crème fraîche; perhaps if you ask at a pharmacy, they can help you with those.

    Pamela: I was at my local supermarket in Paris and a customer asked a clerk where the “guacamole mix” was. I didn’t realize there was a mix for guacamole – …

    Deeli: Yikes! That’s a lot of tabasco sauce : 0

    • Don

    Thanks for making me remember Lynne Austin.

    • Lili

    For his birthday, I gave my brother the Morton’s Cookbook so that he could “learn how” to prepare the salad of iceberg lettuce, sliced beefsteak tomatoes and blue cheese dressing. (No semi-nude models but delicious nonetheless.) You’ve gotta love the classic American establishments and their recipes! Thanks for the laughs.

    • Tesei

    Ha, ha, love the story!!! I don’t think it’s a book I’d ever go out of my way to buy but I certainly wouldn’t say no if it was a gift. And those onion ring look delicious!

    • Nissa

    I realize you are in the big city while I’m in sunny Provence, but where are you finding cornmeal? I’ve found polenta. Maybe I don’t know the correct name.

    • ault

    “Beignets d’oignons” I would imagine.

    Also, the Grossilon chain of greengrocers almost always stocks sweet onions.

    • Julie

    Best White Elephant gift ever!! So nice of you to ask politely about it. I didn’t know they had their own cookbook.

    • marge degenholtz

    Could you please send the name of the Lebanese restaurant that you mentioned In one of your last columns? Thank you in advance for your help.

    • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    hahaha love that you made these! I’ve never been to Hooters, but apparently they make a good grilled cheese too! haha

    • Maya

    Last time i was in paris, i went to the producers’ market, following your tweet, and there was one stand (run by the lovely, english-speaking, Elizabeth Adam, from Valleraugue) that served huge steaming piles of crispy Beignets d’Oignons. That was the only thing on their menu, and boy, were those the best onion rings i have EVER had! and they were going like hot buns. tried to find them online afterwards (the sign said that Elizabeth and her husband, Paul Wellard are ‘producteurs en Cevennes’) unsuccessfully, but i do remember Elizabeth mentioning the use of her own farm-grown special variety of sweet onions which were at the peak of their season, along with chickpea flour, and freshly ground curry spices. so so good! i can’t remember if she used eggwhites or soda water. i probably have it scribbled somewhere. this is definitely worth recreating at home. Man, i wish we had this kind of sweet onions in Israel…

    • La Gramière

    For T.Tilash and anyone else in France, look for the oignons doux des Cevennnes, I would think they would be the best. They are widely available at markets here in the South, and should be in Paris too! Can’t wait to try this recipe! We just mentioned at our Easter picnic in the vineyards that we should make onion rings in the Wine Truck this summer! David want to come down and help? ;-)

    • Jen

    Your posts are always funny, but this one had me laughing out loud. What a hysterical story and one of my favorite posts so far. Best looking onion rings!

    • Linda H

    Recently I opened a can of artichoke hearts when I meant to open something else, so I fried them in a batter similar to the one in your onion recipe. I didn’t have beer so I substituted prosecco. It was great! Next up is a vidalia onion with the rest of the prosecco.

    • J.S. @ Sun Diego Eats

    I like how thin the batter is in these and how the onion rings are thinly cut as well. There is nothing worse than ordering onion rings and getting those gigantic things with too much batter that slips off when you bite it and all you’re left with is slimy onion innards.

    As a sidenote I wonder if Outback Steakhouse has a recipe book, if the French like onion rings how impressed would they be with a Bloomin’ Onion?

    • Philip

    Since Vidalia’s are not always available and red onions turn grey when cooked, I’ll use white onions, but soaking the slices for an hour +/- in water with a little vinegar makes them less sharp.

    For US readers, i recommend the Waring Pro deep fryer. It’s outstanding. Fortunately I have the counter space to keep one fully loaded at all times, because yes, frites and wings are popular here, but it’s also great for Sunday morning doughnuts.

    • Christine

    Oh my goodness, I laughed so hard through this entire post! And when I saw the title I thought for certain you were writing a follow up to the Veuve Clicquot post wherein you thought better of pointing out to your tablemate that English was really the only language in which to discuss Hooters and bloomin’ onions! Unrelated or not, this post was a delight! And while we’re marginally on the topic of making your own iced tea (!?) can you perhaps shed some light on why the “magical key ingredient” in all the Southern sweet tea recipes I’m seeing these days on Pinterest call for a teaspoon of baking soda? I’m coming up empty with all my sweet tea peeps!

    • Peter Watson

    I suspect that Onion Rings are not an American invention, Onion Bhaji in India has been around a VERY long time.

    • Myrna

    Christine – I’ve read that a dash of baking soda to ice tea keeps it clear. Ice tea can get cloudy and that is the fix !

    • Gavrielle

    I’ve been to a Hooters in Singapore (don’t ask). I can report that you’re not missing anything food-wise – and since neither of us are their target audience, I’m guessing the food is what you’re interested in;).

    • Erin

    As an avid American iced tea drinker, I own a coffee pot whose sole purpose is to brew iced tea! I buy jumbo tea bags specifically for iced tea but you can also put three lipton tea bags in there an brew up a nice pot of black tea. I put the whole pot in the fridge and pour it over ice through the week.

    • BelleD

    I make iced tea by putting 5-6 black tea bags in a large pitcher or jar with about 6 cups of water. Leave in the fridge for about a day, et voilà, iced tea. During the summer, I throw in a handful of mint. Nothing like minted iced tea on a hot summer day.

    • LB

    Don’t people use loose leaf tea anymore? Sad. Best tea and iced tea you can make.

    • Suzanne

    I LOVE onion rings and will try this recipe soon. Thanks!

    • Sylvia

    Homemade iced tea is so much more delicious than the boughten kind, but you really need to visit the South (U.S.) to get the real deal — the “sweet tea” there is addicting and refreshing.

    I don’t think the Chinese had anything to do with Italians getting pasta

    I’m still p.o’d at staid old Howard Johnsons, where our family used to go for Sunday dinners on special outings, for coming up with something called “Hooters”. My grandmother would have been appalled. Nevertheless, I’m going to keep an eye out for that cookbook cuz I wants it!

    • Christine

    Thanks for the very amusing read and craving for onion rings.

    • mohan kodange

    Man your onion rings are like KFC, finger licking good. Thanks for a wonderful and easy recipe. Just couldn’t stop eating them.

    • Steve

    About those Eastern Europeans who might have something to say about those Eastern Europeans who might have something to say about those “true bagels” from Montreal? They are all Eastern European Jewish immigrants to New York and their kids, who will argue that Montreal bagels are not the real thing, that New York bagels are best.

    When was the last time you heard of ANYONE singing the praises of bagels from ANYWHERE in Eastern Europe? There is no question that bagels originated in Eastern Europe, but there is also no question that the “art” of the bagel reached its apotheosis in New York and/or Montreal.

    • RV Goddess

    For all of my nearing-60 years, I have made fabulous iced tea with only five tea bags. Who knew?

    This column was just too funny, David. Thank you so much.

    • Poornima

    You are hilarious David….and the onion rings turned out YUM. Thank you .

    • David
    David Lebovitz

    Steve: Yes, a lot of these things that originated elsewhere either get improved or revised as they evolve. Few (if any) people in Africa know what a latte is, or a caramel macchiato. And those Eastern European-style bagels, which I’ve had in Paris in the Marais, are ripe for improvement. (And they costs €3 each, so it’s always amusing to me when people complain about the price of bagels elsewhere…) But I’ve had a number of people tell me New York or Montreal bagels are the “real” bagel, which isn’t necessarily the case.

    Julie: There were some seriously funny gifts that people brought. I was surprised that she was willing to let go of this gem of a cookbook!

      • Steve

      “There’s no bagel like home.” (What else can one say?)

    • Maureen

    What a fun post :)

    I was really hoping you’d share how to make iced tea with us. It’s probably really complicated for beginners.

    • Laurn

    Loved your recent post about guacamole, and now onion rings(hilarious) — what’s next, mac and cheese?

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Oddly, I’ve been reading a wonderful book by a writer who is somewhat of a culinary anthropologist and will be doing one of her recipes shortly. Quelle difference! (Although I love macaroni & cheese, too.)

    • Nick

    Hooters – they have one in Sydney too. I now know that it is actually a worldwide thing and not what I thought was a shameless establishment (named Hooters…)

    • Susan

    The crust on those onion rings looks so good..almost like a tempura crust. I grew up in the DC Metro area and as a teen frequented Marriot’s drive in restaurant called “The Hot Shoppes” It’s been closed for several years now but it’s still a topic of nostalgia by many who had teen years spent meeting friends there to eat or just hang out. I came across a cookbook from the Hot Shoppes online and just had to have it. I was a fan of their Mighty Mo sandwich (similar to the Bob’s Big Boy) and just had to know how to recreate it. What a fun read, if nothing else! I was able to recreate several of the items I used to like, but they didn’t quite measure up to the ones served at the restaurant. I guess my tastes have changed over the years…either that or the anticipation of meeting all my friends on a Friday night as a teenager added that elusive something that doesn’t come from food!

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Yes, it was similar to tempura batter. I think the beer does that. I did make tempura once and the recipe I had used sparkling water..and also said to stir the batter with one chopstick, so there would be lumps (which the author claimed give the batter its lacy texture – and he was right!)

      I remember Bob’s Big Boy because they have great breaded onion rings. I’m going to try those at some point in the future, although now you have me craving tempura! : )

    • Deb

    May I respectfully say that using very sweet onions, like the Vidalia, is not advisable for onion rings. I have worked with different onions, batters and oils, and I find that super sweet onions have too much water, which quickly turns the onion ring soggy. Also, they have a mushy mouth feel. The large yellow onions that we call Spanish are ideal.

    I also find that adding seasoning to the batter is essential, since salt, even popcorn salt, does not cling well to the rings after frying.

    The best onion rings I have ever tasted were served to me tempura style at a small cafe called The New Flower in Yokosuka Japan, in 1972.

    • Debra


    • Jyoti

    Love onion rings, I think its the slightly soft,sweet onion and the crispy stuff that does it for me.Totally unrelated question and I really have no idea where to ask you this cos I tried Facebook- it perhaps was my imagination but I thought I saw people ask you questions there.
    Anyway here goes: In Ready for Dessert ( all your books are so beautiful,you gorgeous,good-hearted funny man you!) , I see that the Date-nut torte says to whip the eggs but does not say for how long. Am I to just whip them up a little and then add the other stuff? Cos I do see instructions on the other cake like the Buckwheat one where you specify for the eggs to be “frothy”. Am sorry am such a d-uh but baking doesnt come naturally to me -put me near a stove and I’ll give you some good food- and I’m just learning it ALL from you David! Btw, buckwheat flour costs 3.95 chf for half a kilo here! Switzerland really drives the frugal me crazy, but its amazing, this Buckwheat!
    Cheers from Basel

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Am glad you are enjoying the book. The recipe says to “whisk together” the eggs with the other ingredients, not whip. So that means to use a whisk to simply mix together the eggs with the other ingredients. (A whisk works better than a spatula or spoon, because of the consistency of the ingredients.) When you “whip” (rather than “whisk together”) something in a recipe, that does mean that you are beating something with a wire whip or whisk, until frothy. Surprised buckwheat is so pricey in Switzerland, especially because of the Italian influence and culture. Happy baking!

    • Laurn

    A culinary anthropologist — would that be Deborah Madison and her new book :)

    • C in BE

    Thanks, David, for the tip about the powdered cultures for the yogurt. Will look for it next weekend when I am in Paris.

    BTW – I was in Lille today and picked up some Merveilleux de Fred thanks to your blog feature a while back on the shop in Paris. They are still as good as ever and there were even some new flavors since my last visit.

    • Antonia

    I guess you don’t watch much soccer on French TV. In Spain they do “la ola” all the time so I’m sure the French do too. One of your readers suggested, faire la ola, so I suppose wave is the same word in both languages with only a difference in which vowel gets the accent.

    • Jyoti

    Thank you so much for the reply David..I do feel much more smarter now :) Buckwheat is perhaps expensive cos its Bio,but they only had the Bio one and its available at Coop (and only in the half kg packing) not at Migros ( I tried the Big Migros as well) so I guess its not commonly used here, which is surprising. On a side note, we use it in India too!
    Thanks again and have a lovely Sunday!

    • Brigitte d’Amours

    In Québec, in french we call ognons rings “oignons français” / French ognons!

    • Nicole

    Had I only known there was a Hooter’s Cookbook, I could have included it in with my white elephant gift of the “50 Shades of Chicken”.

    • Jennifer Eaton

    As I was reading this, I had to scroll up to the top to see the date that this was posted….I could have sworn this was an April Fool’s post! =)
    And, now of course, I want onion rings! YUM

    • Annabel

    I’m not a fan of McD, but the do have fries down. You are so joking, no? McDonald’s so-called “fries” are nothing like real, proper chips – you can barely taste they are made from potato (are they, even?).

    Actually, what might make a good blog post on macaroni cheese is to get people to post their own favourite recipes – I have two that are completely different – and I bet there would be as many different takes on it as there are commentators!

    • v.j.

    If someone already pointed it out, my apology, the Hooters in Vodickova, that is the name of the street where the establishment is located in Prague, of course.

    • lagatta à montréal

    Yes, in Québec we usually say “faire la vague”, and in France that is also used but so is the Spanish term “la ola”. The wiki article also gives an idea of why it might be called “la vague mexicaine”.

    Your post was hilarious, though of course I’ve never been to a Hooters. I have, unfortunately, experienced the pain of hot fat on tender flesh when not covered enough, frying something (nems, if I recall). I was wearing an apron, but it was not hiked up enough… Owww.

    I hate McDo frites. Really, I think the Belgians do them best. We have a small Belgian-inspired chain, Frite Alors! (with a ligne claire bd theme) that does them very well. See that they are actually opening up a franchise in Lyon.

    • VSinSF

    Nathalie is right. I was told it’s called “faire le ola-ola”.

    I’ve been to Hooters once, in Salt Lake City. Such was the state of food in that town, that this was our best meal. Also, true to the region, our “hottie” had three kids. It could have been my imagination, but I thought they had child care for the staff.

    • Michelle

    Laughing about the ice tea and remembering a long ago trip to Small Town, Texas. I’m sitting in a diner, wilted by the heat and decide that I need an ice coffee. The waitress struggles a bit with my Yankee accent, then informs me that “I don’t think that anyone here knows how to make that.” Now we have Starbucks on every corner and we can have ice tea or ice coffee any time we want.

    • dot cahill

    what o dipping sauce for the fried onions???

    • BWL

    It’s a good thing you didn’t post this on April 1st cause I’d have thought it was an April Fool’s joke (though I have to admit that there’s a tender spot in my heart for the bloomin’ onion).

    • Alison Masters


    Made your Hooters Onion Rings last night – awesome! – even according to my (sometimes difficult to please) husband. Easy, delicious (soaked the onions in milk for 1/2 hour first) – do not need any dipping sauce.

    Thanx for your fun, entertaining and always interesting blog. I subscribe so I don’t miss a single one, though the Kimchi Omelet gave me great pause.

    • T. Tilash

    Thanks La Gramière, I will look for them.

    • Liza in Ann Arbor

    Cheering me up with a chuckle on a Monday morn, as always!

    • Lisa

    Wow, I am really enjoying your posts. As I’m finding my way with my relatively new food blog, reading yours is not only fun but also helpful. I’m still new to this, and trying to loosen up my writing. You are a perfect role model for that. Funny thing is I’m about to post a recipe about a French onion tart (it’s in the oven right now) so I can see, very clearly, our very different handling of an onion-based recipe. For starters, my cookbook – “A Passion for My Provence” – is alluring, but not in the same way as “The Hooters Cookbook.” :) Lisa

    • Rose

    Onion rings are my favorite ‘fast food’, hands down….Hooters or most any decent version.

    What I find interesting is that you used Chinese characters to write out Shanghai. 你現在學中文嗎’?

    • Ms. Glaze

    Too funny. By the way I just took some of my friends to Benihana’s two weeks ago and we had a great time although they don’t slice and dice and throw cooked food onto your plate like they used to. But it’s still a good show – much better that Hooters SF (now closed) that did have good onion rings and burgers but I can’t say the waitresses were as smokin’ as the ones in the video above and I never saw any of them break out into a choreographed group two step. I do have the t-shirt and I used to wear it around Paris just for shitz and giggles… lol…

    • kimberly

    What a great post! I’m working late and taking a dinner break. I almost fell off my chair I was laughing so hard. If you think onion rings are hard to translate, when i was in italy, I was talking with an american who was working at the Hard Rock Cafe and she said try explaining a baked potato and then ask if they want sour cream on it.

    Iced tea…aka “sweet tea’, the elixir of the south. When i was in college in the south, I learned to add an earl gray or another type of tea to the basic black tea. It adds an other layer of flavor. Also, I like my tea a very small amount of sweetness so I add honey while the tea is steeping. I like to throw in a flavored tea from Harney and Sons. The best tea’s i’ve found so far.

    In NYC, Argo Tea has popped up all over and they have a HUGE assortment of tea options. iced, hot, bubble, chai, mint, matcha, etc…all “organic” (but they have coffee too) you can also but the loose tea and tea pots too.

    • Kurt Jennerson

    Thanks for sharing, nothing beats a good onion ring!

    • Eric


    Any tips or tricks on how to deal with the oil after frying? Have wanted to start frying for some time, but have been wary of dealing with the left over oil.

    Love your work.


      • David
      David Lebovitz

      I reuse the oil, pouring it in a sealed jar. When it’s no longer usable (too odorous) – I throw the jar in the garbage, not down the drain. Some communities have oil recycling but we don’t have it in Paris.

    • Kim | a little lunch

    Never mind the well-stacked 7-Layer Dip… thanks for the onion ring recipe! Sounds like they’ll go exceptionally well with with homemade iced tea… or beer… or a Margarita.

    • adrian

    Where can one get Vidalia onions in France? Or in my case, Germany?
    I’ve tried before, but no luck…

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      I don’t think they are available in France, but Cèvennes onions are sweeter than regular yellow onions, which I used for these onions rings.

    • Leaf

    Hi David,
    I think the Indians might have something to say about the onion rings being American!
    (i.e. onion pakoras with chickpea flour).
    Have a nice day!

    • Franziska

    I’m glad I exchanged that book of culinary brilliance with you at the Christmas party if it led to this amusing blog post few months down the line. Not to mention delicious onion rings! Also, led to some funny looks from co-workers when I googled Ms. Lynne Austin in the office …

    • Sarah

    I totally love declasse cookbooks (I have The Official WWF Cookbook!) – I must keep an eye out for this one! :)

    • Caro@

    Hooters, what can I say!?! A lot easier are my Mom’ s onion rings–dip ’em in evaporated milk and then shake them in a paper bag with flour seasoned with salt and pepper. Eat with A-One Steak sauce, straight or mixed with catsup. Really. Try it. Instant umami.

    • Lori Lynn

    Strangely, I want to add that book to my collection now too.

    • Alicia

    Ok I just made these tonight and they are delicious. I did decide to add an extra 2oz of beer when the coating was a bit thicker then I wanted but truly fantastic. As a straight woman Hooters is not someplace I go but I promise if you are ever in Maryland I’ll take you there.

    • Alex

    These sound delicious! If you didn’t want to use beer for your recipe, would water work instead. I feel like there would be less flavor if water were to be used. Any ideas on flavorful alternatives to beer.

      • Alicia

      You could probably replace the beer with wine or if avoiding alcohol try apple cider.

    • sofie

    Coffee was discovered in Ethiopia actually, and they still do a mean cup actually. Going to try those onion rings.. Think male guests will enjoy them more when adding the name?


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