weird root vegetables are your friends

by s.

Yesterday, New York was gorgeous. Sunny, fifty-something degrees, and shining, it was almost enough to make everyone forget the unspeakable months of weather that came before it. You come out of hibernation on this kind of morning and you go to the farmer’s market, and everything your eyes once glossed over now looks sort of amazing.

When you get home, you have a large tote bag full of black radishes, kohlrabi, multi-colored carrots, and the drinkable yogurt from Ronnybook that you used to think was kind of weird.

By now, the reader has guessed that “you” has become alarmingly specific and is, in fact, me. This morning, I woke up to the dreary raining mornings I expect from March in this city, and I settled in my copy of “The Produce Bible” as I drank my morning coffee. I learned that kohlrabi is my friend, “delicious on a vegetable platter”, “wonderful in salads”, and “pairs well with creamy, cheesy sauces.” Sometimes it likes to be “stuffed with meat and breadcrumb mixtures” and baked.

What a resume! I would hire the shit out of this weird little alien blob of a vegetable.


I ended up peeling and cubing the kohlrabi, the black radish, and a couple of turnips I had in the fridge and boiling them in a large pot of water. While waiting for the vegetables to become tender, I sliced a large chunk of the kohlrabi to taste-test and ended up salting it and eating it in slices.

Here is a secret: kohlrabi taste like dessert radishes.

Then I mashed all of the above with herbs, butter, heavy cream, garlic, salt, and pepper, and some tumeric to bring out the spiciness of the black radish. It was rich, creamy, peppery, and sweet all at the same time. I ate it with toast, because that’s what I do with anything that could possibly be spread on toast.

I’ve been reading a lot lately – not intentionally, really, but as a natural consequence of the subject’s permeating the atmosphere – about happiness. A lot of people have a lot of things to say about what makes a person happy, but most of them agree that exposure to new things is key. It makes sense to me that our brains need to be occupied, and that if we’re throwing interesting new stimuli at them, we’ll always be challenged and in the present even if we are feel anxious about our pasts or our futures.

I don’t think these changes need always be monumental. I think it’s a really good idea if some of them are, but I also think that there’s a great deal to be said for making friends with weird root vegetables on a weekend afternoon.