Now that all kinds of strikes are common -- not only factory workers but also public employes trying to settle arguments by denying services to their employers -- I am reminded of the first recorded strike in history. According to my information, it was a strike of pyramid-building slaves in ancient Egypt.

The issue was not money, but onions. The payment for work at the time was established in a quantity of onions for a quantity of work. In Egypt, onions were (and still are in remote rural areas) one of the most important food staples. With bread being the other important staple in one form or another, it was only natural that many kinds of baked goods were combined with onions. Honey, and later sugar, were used to sweeten onion breads, onion rolls and onion pastries for staples and festive delicacies for thousands of years.

Onion with dough -- leavened or unleavened -- is still very much a part of the daily fare in the Mediterranean. Some onion pastries are baked in the many-layered phyllo leaf dough, others in the more substantial leavened dough such as the now popular pita or "pocket breads". In many dishes onions are baked in a short dough, something like a pie dough, with very little or no sugar.

This recipe is an updated version of an onion pie that I have sampled and enjoyed in Morocco, Portugal and Spain, in Northern Italy, on the Adriatic Coast of Yugoslavia and in Greece. In each place it is prepared a bit differently, but always very good and always substantial. You must be sure to cook the onions thoroughly before you transfer them into the pie shell for final baking. Half-cooked onions will taste unpleasant in this dish. ONION PIE (8 to 10 servings) Pid dough for a single-crust 9 inch pie 3 tablespoons shortening 1 clove garlic mashed to a pulp with 1 teaspoon salt 2 pounds onions, peeled and sliced (about 4 cups) 3 eggs 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 8 to 12 black Greek olives, pitted and halved 4 to 6 anchovies (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare pie dough. Let it stand at room temperature to dry after you fit it into pie pan.

Heat shortening in a large skillet. When hot, add mashed garlic. Add onions at once. Stir with large spoon, reduce heat to low after 2 to 3 minutes, and continue cooking, stirring frequently. Don't let onions brown, but be sure at least half of them are golden in color and that all are fully cooked, translucent and limp.

If you do it correctly, you will have only a small amount of liquid accumulating in the skillet. To evaporate most of this liquid without burning the onions, tilt skillet to gather liquid at one end, move onions to other end, and keep liquid over heat. When onions are cooked, remove from heat.

Beat eggs with a fork. Brush surface of pie dough generously with beatenn egg. Place pie shell in oven. Stir black pepper into onions. After pie shells has baked 2 to 3 minutes, remove from oven, spoon onions into shell and pour remaining beaten egg over onions. Bake 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven, distribute olives evenly over pie, and, if yo use anchovies, chop them in small pieces and sprinkle on top. Return to oven for a minute or two, cool and serve as a first course for dinner or as a main course for lunch.

For variation, use a different topsmall bits of smoked fish, or cut up small pieces of feta cheese as in Greece, or bits or salami as in Italy.