onion sleeve


Dear All,

This is from P.196 of Mirror Mirror by Gregory Maguire:

"...they poked whole onions with their spoons so that onion sleeve gave birth to smaller slimmer onion baby, and onion baby regurgitated onion sleeve again, and so on."

What is "onion sleeve"? And, what's happened to the onion (gave birth to onion baby??) ?
  • Onions have layers, like the Russian dolls of a woman with another woman inside with another woman inside.

    Here, the character poke at an onion (presumably from the top or bottom) so that the "baby onion" (the inner part) falls out, leaving a layer of skin (a roughly cylindrial or circular one that is like a "sleeve" of a shirt, like a tube). Then they do it again to the first "onion baby", leaving another, smaller layer, and another, smaller onion.
    Thank you very much bibliolept.
    I know the Russian dolls so your explanation made me more excited. Thanks.