This week, we are being adventurous. That is, in my meals this week (I’ve taken to planning out my menus for the entire week on the Sunday), I am investigating different ways to cook the mighty turnip.
Turnip was no part of my diet growing up, I suppose because potato made such an appealing alternative. As a consequence, it has seldom appeared in my adult kitchen, having neither custom nor glamour to recommend it. Particularly to the modern cook, supplied with refrigeration fresh vegetables year round. And, in consequence, no root cellar to speak of.
Being in the country of tatties and neeps, I thought that I might usher in the root vegetable season not by hollowing out a turnip as a jack-o-lantern, but with a battery of recipes.
My obliging husband, list in hand, trouped down to the grocery store and returned heavy-laden. “How many turnips did you want? Six?” he asked incredulously as he unloaded. I looked up to find him holding a root vegetable that took up the entire volume of his hand and then some. “Is this even a turnip?”
Being new to the turnip game, I had to admit that I didn’t know. The color, purple on top, greenish below, was encouraging, but the size was downright daunting. “Um, I think it may be a swede. Close enough.”
He examined the vegetable critically. “I wasn’t sure, so I only bought two.”
“Well, two should do for tonight.”
It turned out that two might have been enough to do for the foreseeable future. Close to, those things were even bigger than they first appeared, and when cut into chunks, occupied an entire baking dish on their own.
Naturally, the name led to a barrage of jokes. “Honey, those swedes are enormous.”
“And they smell funny.”
“There’s a swede sitting on my kitchen counter!”
“They’re awfully difficult to skin whole.”
There was really no recovering the conversation after that.
To be sure, the swedes were hard to skin whole. In the end I had to carve them into slices to get them narrow enough. They’re now roasting peacefully in the oven, coated in olive oil. They should set off the masala sauce nicely.
“Wow, we’re cooking a lot of lentils.”
“THE SWEDES NEED COMPANIONSHIP.”