I didn’t know what parsnips tasted like until I was served them at Chez Panisse (though I have a feeling those exquisite thin strips of crispy, sweet, salty delight were the heavenly version of parsnip that would be hard to replicate by a mere mortal like me).
The dish was so good I wanted to try cooking parsnips myself but when I got to the store I had no idea what they looked like. I was searching for something like a turnip or rutabaga). The green grocer showed me the parsnips and told me they were in the carrot family. He also warned me that they stink badly when you first start cooking them but that the smell goes away after about 15 minutes.
My parsnips have been sketched, but they’re still waiting for me to figure out how to cook them, alongside a bunch of beets, the last veges left in the fridge. It’s time to get cooking and then get shopping!
Parsnip recipes welcomed!
And of course I had to look up the etymology of parsnip, rutabaga and turnips.
- 16c., parsnepe, corruption (by influence of M.E. nepe “turnip”) of M.E. passenep (late 14c.), from O.Fr. pasnaie, from L. pastinaca “parsnip, carrot,” from pastinum “two-pronged fork” (related to pastinare “to dig up the ground”) so called from the shape of the root. The parsnip was considered a kind of turnip.
- 1799, from Swed. dial. (W. Götland) rotabagge, from rot “root” + bagge “bag.” Slang meaning “dollar” is from 1940s.
- 1533, turnepe, probably from turn (from its shape, as though turned on a lathe) + M.E. nepe “turnip,” from O.E. næp, from L. napus “turnip.” The modern form of the word emerged late 18c.