I admit that it’s only been of late that I’ve fallen completely and madly in love with parsnips. I used to lump them in with other categories of root vegetables, namely turnips, celeriac, and other knobby specimens. Which take some getting used to if you’re unfamiliar with their earthy taste. But the second I sautéed some peeled and trimmed parsnips in a little bit of butter on the stove, I realized that they live in a category all their own. There’s a honeyed sweetness to parsnips that makes them a joy to cook – not only because they’re delicious, but also because they fill the kitchen with a scent so comforting and familiar, you’ll wonder why they’ve never been in the regular rotation. The kids’ response? More of what seems to be the usual these days.
ME: OK, What are these called? Does anyone know?
SAM: French fries?
ME: No, they’re not French fries
SAM: I’m gonna try.
ME: Want to smell it first?
LAUREN: Don’t you dare spit it out. Handsome dudes don’t spit stuff out.
ME: Do you know what it’s called?
ME: It’s called parsnips.
ME: Did you smell it?
ME: It think they smell like honey. And so, to make it even taste a little bit more like honey, I cooked them with a tiny bit of honey and butter. Which I usually don’t do with mystery foods, but I thought I’d change things up a little. Want to try another, Sam?
ME: You don’t like it?
LAUREN: Drink your water cocktail. (aka sparkling water and apple juice)
ME: Yeah, drink your water cocktail.
LAUREN: What are you doing SAM?!
ME: He’s just going to get rid of it. He doesn’t want it. That’s fine.
ME: So nobody likes it?
EMMA: I like it.
ME: Did you try it too, Lauren?
LAUREN: I did.
ME: What do you think it tastes like?
LAUREN: It tastes Swedish.
EMMA: CANDY CANE!
ME: Swedish what?
EMMA: CANDY CANE!
ME: I can’t hear what you’re saying.
LAUREN: It tastes like Swedish yucky stuff.
ME: Swedish like the country or sweet-ish like sweet like candy?
EMMA: CANDY CANE! CANDY CANE! CANDY CAAANE!
ME: Swedish? I still don’t know. I don’t know when you say Swedish – do you mean Swedish like the country or sweet like candy?
ME: Swedish like your ancestors from Sweden?
LAUREN: Like that.
ME: These are root vegetables. They’re are kind of like turnips, beets, and other things like that. They’re kind of sweet. They’re good. I think they’re good. Do you want one more? Want to try one more before I put them in the spinach?
EMMA: NOOOO. [crying]
ME: [sigh] All right… Parsnips were not a hit.