Thursday, January 20, 2011

In praise of parsnips

I travel eagerly the roads of discovery, listening, touching, tasting and seeing, reveling in the joys of being alive.

When I learned by chance that one of the favorite dishes of old Augustus Caesar was parsnips drizzled with honey, I sought out this odd, old-fashioned vegetable and gave his recipe a try.

To this day, I love it. I slice and steam them until they are soft, then drip the honey over them.

How to explain the taste of a parsnip? I find it somewhat similar but superior to the common carrot -- spicier and yet not quite as musky-strong. Do not be put off by its pallid complexion. Certainly don't confuse it with a turnip, which is round, bitter and of a different plant family altogether.

I was excited to discover a recipe for parsnip bread recently. But I was disappointed with the results. The ingredients were quite standard: flour, an egg, oil, salt, cloves, allspice and cinnamon, as well as, of course, two peeled and shredded parsnips.

It also called for a full cup of sugar. I don't care for bread that is "crunchy" with sugar crystals so I halved the amount. If anything, that should have made the resulting dough even less dry than it was. But confronted by a powdery, clumpy pile in the baking bowl, I added about half a cup of milk, nowhere called for in the recipe, until a state of batter was achieved.

The results were still somewhat dry and somewhat flat and quite disappointing. I am sure that good parsnip bread can be made but I will have to find a different recipe.


kat said...

ty I'll try that!

Eastcoastdweller said...

Kat, I think I will try growing my own parsnips in the garden this year. I expect they will be even better than storebought ones. If the deer don't eat them.

Eastcoastdweller said...

Be sure to peel them, of course.

kat said...


I need step by step instructions always :>