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I’m on a one-woman mission to save the rutabaga.

Which, according to my research today, is also called a “Swede” in Europe. I was in the midst of making a Scotch broth soup with my leftover holiday lamb and Jamie Oliver advised that I should chop up a Swede and throw it into the pot along with my vegetables.

Perhaps a soup for Jeffrey Dahmer, but I vow to keep my soups human-free. Let’s refer to rutabaga using its North American lingo. And to complicate things with one more rule, let’s avoid the common Southern pronunciation “ruda-beggers” which is even more worrisome than “Swede”.

If you’re A) from Europe or B) from the South and would like return the linguistic praise, feel free. I’m Canadian and come pre-packaged with a hot mess of language issues. I call the garbage disposal a “garberator”, pronounce basil with a soft “a” and if you steal my two-four, there might be a kerfuffle, but I can be easily repaid in peameal bacon. If it dribbles I’ll just wipe my face with a serviette.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk soup.

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You may recall that I introduced rutabaga to my kids as part of our mystery food challenge. One of the interesting observations was that rutabaga smells and tastes a little like broccoli. Lauren mentioned it first, and I guffawed but then brought the object right under my nose, and sure enough, the essence of broccoli itself.

I had visited the farmer’s market last weekend and bought two more rutabagas. Broccoli is a favorite in our house, making rutabagas appealing by proxy. They’re easy to prep- just peel off the skin and dice them for a stove-top simmer or a long, slow roast.

6 comments

rutabaga_FeedMeDearlyI don’t buy rutabaga often…wait, let me flip through my mental files….I don’t think I’ve ever bought it. Doesn’t the name imply the over-boiled vegetables that your Scottish grandmother might have forced you to eat as a child? The funny thing that we discovered about rutabaga is that it does in fact smell (and taste) a little like broccoli. And as I’ve found out over the last few days, it makes for the best mashers (add a little brown butter)…which leads to the best Shepherd’s pie. Which, if you ignore the vast amounts of butter and cream required to get you to the finish line, feels a little healthier than your standard white spuds. So for what it’s worth, I recommend giving rutabaga a try. If only to brag to your friends that your kids were eating it the night before.

ME: OK, hold on. Wait. This is the mystery food! What is this called?

LAUREN: Squash?

EMMA: CHEESE!

ME: It looks like cheese, doesn’t it?

LAUREN: Yellow squash?  

ME: Yeah, it looks exactly like yellow squash, but it’snot.

LAUREN: Yellow melon?!

ME: Nope. What do you think it is, Sam?

SAM: Nothing.

ME: It’s not nothing. Do you want to smell it first? Who wants to smell it?

LAUREN: Smells like broccoli.
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