Sock onions

Discussion in 'English Only' started by panjandrum, Sep 7, 2009.

  1. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I was wandering round my local vegetable shop this afternoon when I came across a label with "sock onion" written on it.
    What on earth is a sock onion?
    In the tray above the label there were mesh packs of four onions in single file. Those, according to my friendly greengrocer, are sock onions.
    Is he a man ahead of his time?
    Has anyone else come across sock onions?
    Is there another term for these?
    ... with apologies for the lack of photograph. I forgot to bring a camera.
    EDIT - I found an image - CLICK
     
  2. kratsy Member

    English - United States
    I have never heard of that, but it does make sense. They are sort-of in a sock-shape. I've actually never seen onions even sold that way.
     
  3. lablady

    lablady Senior Member

    Central California
    English - USA
    I would recognize them as "bag onions" or "bagged onions", depending upon how gramatically correct my grocer wanted to be. :) The onions may or may not be bagged in single file.

    I've never heard of "sock onions", but I understood it immediately. The image it brought to mind was exactly the same as your picture.
     
  4. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    I suspect "sock" refers to that tight, net bag they are contained. I've never heard it either. Might it be a new marketing ploy?
     
  5. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London but from Yorkshire
    English - England
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2009
  6. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    Elsewhere
    English English
    Never come across it, Panjo.

    It's not exactly my idea of a sock, either.
     
  7. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southern England
    English - England
    We know you go in for fancy things, Ewie.

    I've never heard the expression, but I agree with the others that it is easily understood, though it's more a way of packaging the onions than a type of onion.

    Greengrocers aren't famous for literacy; some would say they were infamous for illiteracy. I wonder whether he just leaves out an of, and writes sock onions where a more fastidious person would write sock of onions.

    We have socks of onions in French supermarkets too. They come more expensive. I haven't worked out if they have to be higher quality, or if it's just a business of paying for the sock and the labour of loading it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2009
  8. manon33 Senior Member

    English - England (Yorkshire)
    Given that 'socks' are usually associated with sweat and toenails, grot and dead skin, it's not the greatest lexical choice to tempt people to buy onions, is it?
     
  9. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I find this comment incredibly sad.
    What, I wonder, does manon33 hang up on Christmas Eve?
    I can just picture his horrified expression on Christmas Morning as he realises that once again he faces the awful dilemma. There, once again, Santa Claus has left him an apple, an orange, and a bag of pseudo-chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil and ...


    ...


    ... hanging in a sock.
     
  10. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    I was thinking of wind sock, actually..
     
  11. manon33 Senior Member

    English - England (Yorkshire)
    Nah, the onions would fall out of the end.
     
  12. manon33 Senior Member

    English - England (Yorkshire)
    Actually, I'm female. And I don't hang anything up on Christmas Eve becasue I am Father Christmas. 'Nuff said.;)

    And even as a child I found that odd bulginess of knee-socks packed with lumpy presents and tangerines, etc., a bit disconcerting. But don't worry, I've had counselling.
     
  13. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Stockings, surely - not :eek:socks....

    Oh and er um to answer the question - no, I've never heard of sock onions.

    Mind you, I've come across socks that smelled of onions.
     
  14. Nunty

    Nunty Modified

    Jerusalem
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    Reading the phrase, my first thought was of shallots, which are sold in mesh bags here, and that maybe "sock onion" is a local name for "shallot". I suppose these were onions and not shallots?
     
  15. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    Penang
    American English
    I've never heard the expression, but I love it... like sock puppet with a bite. :)

    Garlic is sold that way in Hong Kong. On a technical note, I would think to be a sock vegetable, you need to be stackable, one on top of the other, in a tube-like "sock." If you're not stackable, you're in a bag. (Although reading Nunty's description, perhaps if you're small onions in a slim bag, you qualify.)

    In any case, Sock Garlic doesn't have the same mellifluous sound of Sock Onion.
     
  16. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    There is a simple, easy solution, and as Henry Louis Mencken taught us all years ago, such solutions to vexatious problems are...






    wrong.

    Around here they sell some strange, flavorless but large thing called elephant garlic (genetic marvel or what pachyderms like on their pasta?) in tubular mesh containers.
    Clearly the airy bag distributor had excess stock and these were sold at a substantial discount to panj's veggie man.

    Here is photographic proof that I'm not making all of this up. Only 99%.
     
  17. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Thank you for all the helpful comments.

    As a reward, CLICK to see the onions and the sign. It's not a very good picture of the socks. As you can see, they are stacked and we are looking at the end of the socks.

    They are very definitely not shallots, they were on the shelf below.

    Edit:
    OK, in response to popular demand I went back to the shop.
    HERE are the sock onions again, a better view this time.
    On a nearby shelf I found the SHALLOTS, in mesh bags as Nunty suggested.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2009
  18. pickarooney

    pickarooney Senior Member

    Provence, France
    English (Ireland)
    Onions are often sold in this format around here (they're quite la-did-dah). In addition to the tube-shaped bag, the onions usually appear to be growing out of a bamboo-type stick, although they might just be tied onto that for some reason.
     
  19. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    Penang
    American English
    It's got everything you'd want in a sock onion photo: socks, onions, nametag, price and store. Nice photo... thank you.
     
  20. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    Elsewhere
    English English
    I was trying to make a (fairly) serious point earlier: there's no way I'd call one of those things a sock because well, darn it, socks are sock-shaped (observe) ~ unless they're wind-socks. I'd call it a net, just as I'd call this a net of oranges.
     
  21. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    Penang
    American English
    Yes, but who needs to be exact when you can be fun -- sock onions has some linguistic style. Net onions, not so much. Net weight, even less. :) Besides, these things aren't very long and they're stacked... perhaps you could think of it as the foot section of the sock with the ankle bit missing. Athletic Sock Onions. Also, not so good.

    But I agree about tube socks -- one of the worst products that lazy, cheapskate manufacturers thrust on a gullible public.
     
  22. Nunty

    Nunty Modified

    Jerusalem
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    I cannot decide if we are all deadly serious or completely nuts. Or both. :p

    I recently had occasion to research paintball (*). It turns out there is a safety device for when the paintball gun is not in use. It is variously called a "barrel condom" or a "barrel sock". This, together with tube socks, leads me to believe that a "sock" is a long, soft cylinder that covers something and fits tightly to it. I don't think worked heels are integral to sockiness.


    (*) No, no, no! It was for a translation.

    EDIT: I was busy looking for pictures while Copyright was posting. But I don't want to waste my research, so I'm posting anyway. :rolleyes:
     
  23. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    Penang
    American English
    It was worth it just for sockiness. :) And research is always better than hearsay. Thanks.
     
  24. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southern England
    English - England
    I don't think condom onions would sell very well.
     
  25. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    Sock prevention. Interesting topic. Wave onions in front of a pugilist?

    Condoms made of onion skin? Organic, but...

    OK ewie, you may delete this now.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 8, 2009
  26. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    I have been troubled by this thread, not least since I agree with His Ewieness that socks ought to be, well, sock-shaped. And ideally, knitted; certainly not mesh. I remember going on a trip to Paris age 17 wearing black fishnet tights, and ... That's enough of that, Loob.

    Like Nunty, I have done some research. I rang up my local T**** supermarket and asked what they called "onions that are not sold loose - you know, the ones that are sold in threes or fours in net bags".

    The answer came back, "Onions, pack of four". Not a sock or a condom in sight.

    Panj, perhaps your greengrocer is a foot-fetishist?
     
  27. spatula

    spatula Senior Member

    London
    English - London (Irish ethnicity)
    My immediate thoughts were exactly the same as se16teddy. It's recommended that onions be stored in this way to maintain freshness, so I assumed it was a greengrocer who knew his onions (groan) marketing the ultimate in practicality. As the average person may not have mesh readily available, old tights are often used. I would assume the word 'sock' has been chosen instead of 'onion pantyhose' which seems particularly unpleasant. :eek:
     
  28. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    Elsewhere
    English English
    :thumbsup: Almost as unpleasant as Loob in fishnets onion prophylactics.
     

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