It’s here: that chill in the air telling you summer is over. Soon it’ll be time to take out the sweaters and boots. Before you know it, you’ll be wrapped in a blanket, cozy and warm, enjoying a bowl of soup or a cup of hot tea. I, for one, can’t wait.
Calla and I went on a grocery adventure today. We stopped at Timmy’s (of course). Had our usual (of course). For Calla, a large steeped tea (one milk, two sugars), and a homestyle biscuit toasted with butter and jam (on the side). For me, a coffee (double cream), and a raisin tea biscuit toasted with butter and jam (on the side). When you order this, you get 2 packets of butter, and 2 packets of jam. Well, Calla and I only use one packed of jam each. See? The picture below? An unused jam packet! Well, ladies and gentlemen, that was January 28th. This time, we were smart.
This time, we saved a whole 25 cents and ordered the on the side stuff only one time. Profit!
Calla often looks at the little old ladies at Tim’s and says to me, That’s so gonna be us in 50 years. Today, she said it as she saw three little old ladies sitting down at the table next to us.
Allie (bitterly): Who’s the third one? Your new friend? I’m not enough for you in 50 years?!
Allie: The one with the most bitter look on her face is me.
Calla: <the kind of laughter that makes no sound>
(One of the ladies drops the napkin holder.)
Allie: Yeah, that’s me. Throwing shit around.
So we finished up our biscuits and headed off to the grocery store*. I was mainly there for to shop for soup supplies, but also had to replace my coffee machine, which finally gave out today**. But by this point in the story, we’re in the grocery section.
Now, I like soup. I like vegetable soup. I make vegetable soup a lot. I make it like my mom always made it. You take chicken (and/or beef), carrots, celery root and parsnips and make a stock. Later, you cut up the vegetables, add some potatoes, and frozen corn. Lots of corn. Perhaps, if you’re feeling fancy, you add some tomato paste. I really like this soup. Just like this1.
So…..they didn’t have parsnips. Trying to be a grown-up, I walked through the aisles searching for an alternative. I saw squashes, but those are not good for stock, only as an addition later. I saw onions, which some people put in their stock, but I’m not a fan. I saw beets. That’s just weird. Then…I saw one of these:
Which…always just remind me of a polish storybook I had as a kid. Cianut, Cianut i wycianut nie mogut.***
But, a rutabaga. I mean, they’re so weird. Why are they covered in wax? A rutabaga. Where does that name come from? RUTabaga. ROOTabaga. Roooot-aaaaa-baaaaYgaaaaa.
Allie: What’s a rutabaga?
Calla (tentatively): They’re sort of like a … PAR-snip…but…sweeter.
Allie: Is it like a turnip?
Calla (still tentatively): Sort of…but … turnips are…sweeeet-er.
Allie: (pause) You’re making this up.
Calla: My gramma uses them in soup!
Allie (starting to believe): Are they good?
Calla (tentatively): I’ve never actually … had … one.
Calla: I saw it on Alton Brown! Root vegetables!
Okay, so I figured I’d give it a try. How bad can it be?
Rutabaga, we’re counting on YOU.
Easier to peel than a squash. +1 for rutabaga!
Smells like celery root****. -1 for rutabaga.
Wikipedia actually says a Rutabaga is a turnip. +1 for rutabaga!
And that the name comes from Swedish dialect for root ram. Root ram?! What’s a root ram?! -1 for rutabaga!
The soup’s just cooking now, so I’ll let you know. Stay tuned for further developments and scoring.
*The evil empire, Walmart Superstore. Sometimes a girl just needs to do some one-stop-shopping.
**Tip: If your mom tells you not to clean your coffee machine with vinegar because hers always stop working after she does that, listen to her.
1 Okay, if my matka is reading this, she’s going to be all, but you and your dad never let me do fancy things! Never tomato paste, never cut up veggies from the soup. I know, I know, mom. I’m trying to widen my palette, whilst giving a sense of history and meaning to this rutabaga story.
***Not actually Polish. If you were Polish, you’d be laughing.
****I know, But you said your mom puts in celery root and you like it just like that! Yes. I said that. But I don’t like it later. My mom used to cut it up and I didn’t like it. So she stopped. So now we throw it out after the stock is made. And actually this time I was going to spice things up and not include it. I’m trying to grow here.