Friday, 25 February 2011

With God as my witness, I'll never eat parsnips again!

Or swede, or cabbage...

It's the long hard slog through the seasonal lull of exciting local produce. Michael and I get a veggie box each week from a very small local organisation who source all their veg so locally that they think onions from Lincolnshire (we are in Lancashire) is too far. As cheap, marvellous, ecologically/ethically sound, etc, as this all is, it does mean we have taken a step back about 125 years or so in vegetabley terms! Between November and April it's potatoes, cabbage, swede, carrots, leeks, onions, a lettuce if we're lucky, and, of course, parsnips - every single week.

The other night, as we were stoically consuming another bowl of parsnip soup/mush for dinner, Michael said: 'some people talk about looking forward to the first tomato of the year - for me it'll be the last parsnip'! For most people they no doubt only make an appearance roasted at Christmas or in Sunday roasts, and occasionally in cafes as spicy parsnip soup. For us it's a relentless fight against the mounting piles of the bloody things in the fridge.

Funnily enough his parsnip-weariness came just after I had once more reconciled myself to this oft-shunned vegetable. I'd become annoyed by their ubiquitous presence because of their capacity to permeate and taint with evil any dish they might be haplessly thrown into - never, I repeat, NEVER, just chuck a parsnip into a mixed vegetable stew or soup, unless you want it to become a mixed vegetable soup or stew that tastes unmitigatingly of boiled parsnip. They are mostly experienced roasted or spicy-souped for a very good reason. The parsnip may be a humble root, but it is no delicate wallflower - it demands centre stage in whatever dish it is contained within. My mother hates them, so perhaps I have an advantage in that I've had a limited number of years of exposure in which to tire of them...

But the reason I'd managed to steel myself once more to eating parsnips until what will be probably some time in May, is a blog post I stumbled on when on a desperate recipe hunt. Here it is: Roasted parsnip, garlic and mushroom soup. Now, quite apart from the fact that this sounds delicious, and I'd never considered putting mushrooms with parsnip before, the thing that was so curious about this article is that this woman had never eaten a parsnip before. Can you imagine?! I was struck with shame and upbraided myself inwardly for lamenting my pitiful, parsnip-filled lot, when there were others in the world who had never eaten a single one! Like a more compassionate Mr Creosote suddenly being presented with images of starving children in Rwanda. True, the author does live in Mississippi, where overwintering root vegetables are presumably not prolific, but the idea of a parsnip being something new and exotic really re-invigorated it for me somehow.

Still, I'll be glad when the season turns and we get the first batch of non-parsnip infested vegetables!,

1 comment:

  1. That soup sounds nice. Oh, I hope we haven't run out of parsnips!