We had dinner with Bill and Catherine a week ago Sunday, and she made us a traditional British Sunday dinner consisting of roast leg of lamb with mint sauce, brussel sprouts with a cream sauce, and three kinds of roasted root vegetables, including parsnips. I am not proud to say that I did not even try the brussel sprouts, having a strong aversion to them since I was a child. (I barfed them back out onto my plate the first time I was forced to eat them. Boy, did that make my parents mad!) Anyway.
I had never eaten parsnips before, and they were a revelation. They had carmelized as they roasted, and they were creamy and sweet and delicious. They were my favorite part of the dinner, in fact. Catherine sent the rest of the uncooked parsnips home with us, and I roasted them for the two of us the next day. Still delicious. Right on the edge of tasting like a yucky cooked carrot, but somehow managing to avoid it. I can't wait to explore all the possibilites of the humble parsnip.
Eating cooked vegetables is still a risky business for me. Growing up, the only cooked vegetables we ever ate came from a Birdseye box in the freezer. They had no texture and no flavor, and they generally smelled terrible. At least, that's how I remember it. I used to only like cooked corn, and for many years after I left home, that was the only cooked vegetable I would eat. Gradually, I have learned that buying fresh vegetables and cooking them yields unexpected flavor and texture. Thanks, Catherine, for adding another tasty vegetable to my growing list.