Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Weird Word Wednesday Rutabaga

Today's word is not so much a weird word, as it is maybe an unusual word. I didn't think this was the case until yesterday when I overheard a conversation about making soup.

One cook insisted that no vegetable soup could be complete without rutabaga and the other had no clue what a rutabaga was. Certianly the use of rutabagas as food has fallen off as we are no longer reliant on only hardy root vegetables through out the winter, but to not know what this is at all?

So, if that could have been you, keep reading.

Rutabaga , (rōō'tə-bā'gə, rŏŏt'ə-, rōō'tə-bā'gə, rŏŏt'ə-) n.

In both senses also called swede, Swedish turnip.

1. A European plant (Brassica napus var. napobrassica) having a thick bulbous root used as food and as livestock feed.

2. The edible root of this plant.

So now you know what it is, you should also know that a rutabaga is one of the hardest substances known to cooks. Trying to cut this monster requires your heaviest chef's knife. And don't even think of trying to get away without peeling. It may be true that most of the nutritional goodies are in the peel, but it's not something anyone would want to ingest. Just trust me.

What do you do with it? Well, I do give in and add it in very small cubes to soup on occasion. Rarely. I hear you can mash it or serve it in a variety of tasty ways, in place of turnips. Since turnips aren't really in my daily recipe file, I'll take someone else's word for it.

I'm not advocating for rutabagas, but I do think people should at least know what they are.

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