Sunday, January 18, 2015

Root vegetables

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Eastside Road, January 18, 2015—
AMONG THE FEW THINGS in this world that I cold cheerfully do without are root vegetables. I exclude the ones that aren't really vegetables, of course: onions and garlic, which are bulbs; potatoes, which are tubers; mushrooms and truffles, which are fungi. No: I'm talking about the true roots, among which carrots are the only ones I willingly consume.

In my opinion the problem is real, physical, existential on a molecular level, and probably genetic. Root vegetables, in adddition to their obnoxious textures — impossibly wooden if raw, disgustingly mush-fibrous if cooked — are pungently repulsive to the palate, tasting of dirty aluminum. I know what that tastes like: my father was a sheet metal worker, and (strictly on an experimental basis) I licked plenty of aluminum in my childhood. That proverbial taste of bad pennies, that's what even a delicate turnip tastes of. Parsnips are worse; I won't even discuss rutabagas. Beets are beyond the pale.

The other night we were guests at a friend's house, and she roasted a mélange of root vegetables. Knowing my feelings about beets, she roasted them separately, but I was still faced with all those other things. I ate them, of course. I may be a picky eater, but I know my manners.

Tonight Cook, inspired by that recent evening at our friend's, decided to go the same route (if you'll forgive the pun), and you see the result here. Well, I ate them, of course, mentally thanking every little bit of potato among the other stuff. It was okay. I won't say it was delicious, not to my personal taste, but it was okay. I can never be anything but grateful for the woman who works so tirelessly to keep me not only fed but healthy. I wish I liked these things. Maybe I'll try harder.

Afterward, thankfully, a nice green salad, and then a tangerine, and a couple of pieces of chocolate, reward enough, don't you agree?

Zinfandel, Preston of Dry Creek, 2011: rich, round, fruity, almost mature
Restaurants visited in 2015 are listed at Eatingday's Restaurants


Daniel Wolf said...

Charles, where do you stand on sweet potatoes? Interestingly, I've never found an aluminum taste in turnips, but definitely in cooked spinach, which I can eat without complaint raw. We agree on rutabagas, though!

Charles Shere said...

Sweet potatoes and yams are not to my personal taste. That's the formula we tried to teach our kids to use: not "I don't like it!"; "It's not to my personal taste." I suppose the idea was to make them realize there's a two-way thing going on between the vegetable and the palate. Whatever.

I love cooked spinach, even canned spinach. The former tastes slightly of oxalic acid; the latter of tin. Not aluminum, tin.