Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Parsnip Affair

Last month our winter CSA gave us apples, mixed lettuce, carrots, beets, butternut squash, onions, potatoes and parsnips. We didn't exactly get to the parsnips. As a vegetable they just don't do a lot for me, you know? And I do the cooking around here, so...

This month our CSA gave us apples, mixed cooking greens, carrots, beets, buttercup squash, onions, arugala, and...parsnips. Damn! We still have the first batch of parsnips storing happily away in the fridge! So tonight I took the bull by the horns and looked up parsnip recipes. After sifting through about 30 variants on parsnip/apple soup (bisque, stew, chowder etc) I found this gem. Parsnip Cake? O rly???

So as not to be totally unhealthy in my parsnip adventures I cooked some up in the beef stew I made tonight, too. Then I turned my attention the cake. As I was grating the parsnips I noticed an odd, familiar smell. I firmly turned my nose away. As I ate the stew I tasted an odd, familiar taste. My inner monologue assured me that in the cake parsnips would be different. As soon as it was cool enough to eat I cut some to taste and see if I should even bother frosting it. I could still taste it. But faintly, so I had Robert taste, without telling him why. He said it was OK with him, as far as cake went. So I frosted it. But I couldn't shake the feeling that something was not right.

On the phone with Kenny tonight I approached the question.

Me: So, um, have you ever cooked parsnips yourself before?

Kenny: Yeah, actually, I just cooked some like 2 days ago.

Me: They look like long white carrots, right? That's a parsnip, right?

K: Yes. They're really fat at one end and have a very dramatic taper.

M: Yeah, that's what I have. What do they taste like?

K: They're kind of like a cross between a carrot and a sweet potato. Sweet and starchy. They're really almost too sweet for me.

M (anxiously): So, not at all like...celariac?

K: No. Not like celariac. Why?

M: Um, mine taste like celariac. In the stew I cooked them in tonight they tasted just like celaraic. What the hell do I have? Can celeriac look like chubby skinny white carrot??

K: No. I don't think so.

M: Crap. I cooked a parsnip cake, too. I think it would be better if the things I have tasted like what you're describing.


Paige said...

First off, a winter CSA? I thought I was living in produce wonderland, but nobody I know gets a winter CSA here--I am so envious. I loved not buying produce all summer and fall, but just picking it up at the farm.

And parsnips--I love parsnips. Pureed, in soup, added to chicken stew. Love them. Let me know if you want recipes. (And celeriac--love that, too...but they definitely don't taste the same to me ;-) )

Stacie said...


I have never heard of parsnips or celeriac...man, I am living in a deprived veggie world.

Sounds like I would LOVE parsnips if they taste like your brother described.

the main stitch upholstery said...

owen loves parsnips. he eats them raw with the skin on and all. he will eat them anyway you give them to him. good job making something out of them. i do that to. i don't like to waste food.