Thanks to NASCAR driver Kevin Harvick’s good showing in yesterday’s Toyota Owners 400, Outback Steakhouse will be giving away free Bloomin’ Onions with every purchase today, as long as you say “Bloomin’ Monday” when you place your order. While you’re chowing down, here are five facts about this notorious appetizer.
It Was Invented Long Before Outback Came Around
The owners of a restaurant called Scotty’s Steakhouse, in Springfield, New Jersey, claim to have invented the big fried onion appetizer back in the 1970s, many years before Outback Steakhouse even came around, in 1988.
It’s Made With the Help of a Handy Contraption
If you want to make a Bloomin’ Onion knockoff by hand, it’s going to be a tricky process, as it needs to be sliced into 24 even “petals.” But as you might imagine, Outback cooks aren’t sitting around with their paring knives cutting up onions all day; they just use a device called the Nemco 55700 Easy Flowering Onion Cutter, which cuts onions into the familiar design with one stroke.
It Has an Ungodly Amount of Fat and Calories
If you eat a whole Bloomin’ Onion, you’ll be consuming 1,954 calories and 134 grams of fat, with 44 grams of combined saturated and trans fat. Just for reference, the U.S.D.A. recommends adults eat eat 2,000 calories and 65 grams of fat per day.
A “Loaded Bloomin’ Onion” Was Released Last Year
Last June through August, Outback diners had the opportunity to sample what most likely was the unhealthiest appetizer of all time: a “Loaded Bloomin’ Onion,” topped with French fries, melted cheese, and bacon. If you were to have eaten the whole thing (and its accompanying sauces), you’d have ingested 2,360 calories, more than four Big Macs’ worth.
It Was Based on a Japanese Recipe
The three founders of Outback (who had never actually been to Australia) actually got the idea for the Bloomin’ Onion after seeing a similar recipe in a Japanese cookbook. Even though only two sold on the chain’s first night in operation, today they sell about 40,000 every day!