Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Sometimes I tend to get stuck on certain foods. I go to the grocery and tell myself I'll get something different but there I am, picking up the same thing. This last month it's been parsnips and edamame.

'What are these?' Bob said the first couple of times we had something with parsnips in them. And then the next couple of times, 'You're really into parsnips, aren't you?' Luckily, he doesn't mind.

Parsnips are kind of like carrots only white and more woody. I'm sure you could eat them raw, but I like them braised or roasted. Like carrots, when you roast them they get sweeter. I toss them with a little olive oil and salt and stick them in the bottom of roaster and let them cook in the oven until they are, well, cooked. I roasted a chicken and put them in the roaster under it with some onions and turnips and potatoes. I thought maybe I would get all excited about root vegetables. The turnips were okay, but I'm not all excited about root vegetables. I just like parsnips. They make me feel like I'm doing something interesting with dinner. Although actually they are really old fashioned. Not some new johnny come lately vegetable like tomatoes or really faddy like celery.

(Celery has been around since ancient Greece but it was sort of re-discovered in Victorian times when they created special celery holders to show it off at table.)

The other neat thing about parsnips is that a few people have been eating them steadily so I can find them in the grocery. Not like galangal, another obsession of mine, which I can only find online. And edamame? Some other time maybe I'll talk about edamame.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting that you brougth up parsnips today as several days ago I went shopping for some to put in the chicken soup I was preparing. I went to the store and found "parsnips" and "turnips" in the same bin and I thought I wanted turnips. When I brought them to pay I said "they're turnips"--the young cashier said "I think they're parsnips"--I said really? I have no idea. I'm always getting the two mixed up. So we went to the bin and looked at the two veggies (there was a third one in there but we knew that wasn't a parsnip or a turnip.) We asked the food guy--"so what is this? (off-white, carrot-shaped object) and he confirmed: parsnip.

Anyway, they're great in chicken soup. And roasted :-)

January 10, 2007 2:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Few cashiers at my regular grocery store believes me when I tell them that the white carroty thing I'm buying is called a parsnip. I often get charged for turnips.

One of my most favorite pleasures in life is smelling freshly cut parsnip.

January 10, 2007 3:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

About galangal: I'm surprised your friendly local Asian grocer doesn't carry it. I can find it in Poughkeepsie, which I don't really consider a hotbed of Asian cuisine.

I see from Google that Austin has several Asian grocers (lucky you).


January 10, 2007 7:35 PM  
Blogger Maureen McHugh said...

Walt, I've only been to two Asian groceries here, but neither is very good about things Thai. They are however excellent about things both Chinese and Vietnamese. But I am still hoping to find galangal.

Poughkeepsie has galangal? Wow. The world is shrinking.

January 10, 2007 9:19 PM  
Blogger Erin O'Brien said...

Parsnips kick ass. I am also obsessed with pickled turnips.

Now I'm going to get me some of both.

January 11, 2007 3:33 AM  
Blogger Maureen McHugh said...

Erin, pickled turnips? Do you just eat them like pickles? Or do you use them in something?

January 11, 2007 10:49 AM  
Blogger Erin O'Brien said...


Now I am going to do a whole blog about these mothers, complete with a picture.

You will trick out major on them.

(I have been drinking--help.)

I will let you know when I post that bad boy.

January 11, 2007 6:17 PM  
Blogger Karen Sandstrom said...

I'll say it again: I want dinner at your house. However, I echo Ellen's question about the diff between parsnips and turnips. I think it's parsnips I like. My mother used to roast them or braise them or something. I came to think of them as part of The Family of Friendly Vegetables. Other members of this family were asparagas and green beans. If you put them on a chess board, they would face off against the The Hostile Vegetables, which included lima beans, chick peas and cauliflower. Broccoli was Switzerland.

January 11, 2007 7:55 PM  
Blogger Maureen McHugh said...

Erin, I check your blog all the time, so I'll know when you post.

Karen, I intend to cook for you and Carlo just as soon as I can get you out here.

Turnips are the round things, often with a hint of purple on them. If you think of carrots as tasting slightly sweet and potatoes as not sweet, turnips are bland like potaotes with a slight bitter accent, but parsnips are kind of sweet.

January 11, 2007 8:35 PM  
Blogger Kristin Ohlson said...

Mmm-- I love roasted parsnips. Glad you made me think of them again.

January 30, 2007 10:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you ever find galangal root?

You can grow alpinia galanga in your yard. I started growing it this spring here in San Diego. It should be available from late spring through midsummer in the south. Call your local nurseries first and ask for it by name. Or order plants by mail order. If your local farmer's market has a seller of potted herbs, they may be able to provide you with it if you ask.

-Stella Bloom

August 02, 2008 2:28 AM  
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