Bring vinegar, sugar, cumin, and salt to a boil in a 2-quart non-reactive heavy saucepan, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Add onions and simmer, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes, then transfer to a bowl and cool. Stir in cilantro. Pickled onions can be made 1 week ahead and chilled, covered.
Copyright July 2003, Gourmet magazine. Printed with permission.
"My mother taught me that food was fuel," says writer Elissa Altman. "That food was dangerous. That food was the enemy." As Altman's mother grows older, Altman is finding it difficult to get her to eat.