On this blog, I have often complained about my northern taste buds. I was raised on northern fruits and veggies. It's what I crave. And I've been disappointed more than once trying to grow a Yankee vegetable in the South.
It's tough to be an apple and cauliflower girl in the land of peanuts and watermelons. Okra will never find a home on my little 1/2 acre.
Over the past few years, I've made the effort to branch out a little, attempting my first melons (cantaloupe) and planting natives like muscandine grapes and even put in a peach tree in our back yard.
Next year I'm committing a large patch of dirt to sweet potatoes. Every one around here says they're easy to grow and yummy besides. But that's part of the problem. Given the choice, I prefer white (russet) potatoes. Sweet potatoes (or yams) are OK but were always relegated to the holiday table with mini marshmallows swarming on top.
(It's a Yankee thing. I never could stand the stuff. Is that what we do with food we don't understand? Cover it up?)
This Fall I planted turnips. I've never eaten a turnip in my life but wanted to try something new. SM was having none of it. Turnips are a big fat "Yuck" on his food meter. I blew off his opinion though and bought some Boule D'or seeds from Baker Creek thinking a home grown turnip would taste a whole lot better than a store bought one.
Saturday 7 am finds me putting on my winter coat and heading outside into the frosty morning.
SM is on his first cup of Joe.
"Where are you going." He asks me sleepily.
"Out to the garden." I said zipping up. "I want to try those turnips out. I've heard that they're pretty tasty if you fry them up with potatoes and onions. You know, Home Fries."
SM's eyes snap open.
(Nothing wakes a man up faster than the promise of Home Fry contamination by the Missus.)
"I told you before I won't eat those things." SM proclaims.
"Relax...I'll make you a separate batch of potatoes." I said breezing by him. (Damn...I blew my hand! I shouldn't have said anything until after the taste testing was done.)
I wander out to the garden curious as to what I'll find. The only thing the rabbits left behind was the turnips and the mustard greens.
We've had several frosts this past week. It's also been super dry here. No rain at all. The ground is as hard as concrete.
Everything is a bit wilted with the frost.
I pull up a few turnips and head back in.
Wash, peel and chop. (I even have a few sweet onions left from this years crop hanging in there!) I get out 2 frying pans and start to cook.
SM wanders by keeping an eye on the situation. "Which one has the turnips in it?" He asks quizzing me.
I point with my spatula.
"You aren't trying to sneak any in there are you?" (He knows me too well...)
"Would I do that to you?" Knowing full well I would but sensing that I shouldn't push it.
I hand him his turnip free portion and proceed to take a few bites of the fried turnip mixture. "Huh..." I say.
"Tastes a bit stronger than a potato, but has the same texture.' I take another bite. "Kinda has a radish flavor during the first bite." I'm personally NOT a radish fan.
I put the plate down and move away to peel and chop up some other turnips to boil and mash and see what those taste like. I figure if I leave the plate unprotected, SM just might check it out. You see, SM loves food, so curiosity alone will usually get him to tasting it.
Sure enough, after he's eaten HIS home fries he picks up my plate, eyeballs the embedded Kryptonite in it and picks up a little turnip cube with his fork.
"Is this a turnip?" He asks.
I peer at the nasty bit. "I think so. See? It's a bit more yellow than the potato."
SM tastes it.
I'm prepared to step away in case he decides to spit it out. Instead I hear him say, "Not bad..."
He spears another nasty bit. Three more bites and he's done. I raise my eyebrows at him in inquiry.
"Still don't like it." He says moving off.
I pick up the plate and eat what's left over trying to find something redeeming about the flavor of a turnip.
"Come on, Tami!" I say to myself. "The bugs and bunnies leave them alone. This could be the prize jewel in your garden if you can get used to the flavor."
Fried stuff gone, I then turn my attention back to the mashed turnips. Even with butter, salt and pepper and a splash of half and half, this stuffs nasty.
As in "Yuck!"
As in I can totally see why SM doesn't like turnips.
I turn away to answer the phone and while I'm talking I see SM come over, peer into the pan, take a fork and taste the mashed stuff. No words are needed between us.
So will I grow turnips again? I'm not sure. I think time will tell. I don't want to waste the turnips I have left in the garden. As long as I fry them with the potatoes, I think they'll be edible.
You wouldn't think it would be so hard to turn your taste buds, would ya?