I miss root vegetables

I never thought I would type those words. Not that I’m a huge fan but when you can’t have something, well… anyway we just don’t have root vegetables here. No beets, no turnips, no parsnips, no rutabaga, no celery root, no kohlrabi. Once in a blue moon I’ve seen them, and if I do see them, I snatch them up. I like these vegetables in wintertime. They are filling and earthy and warming.

My friend Elizabeth told me yesterday, when I was whining about this, “they are not Mediterranean. Why would you expect them here”? But as you know, my friend Vera brought me some turnips from her mother-in-law’s garden. So they DO grow here just fine.

I guess it is a matter of taste. And a matter of tradition. Italians are very, very traditional. If it was good enough for their nonno, it is good enough for them! It is why we don’t have any Thai, Indian, or Mexican restaurants to speak of here. At least in rural Italy. Italians don’t tend to embrace new tastes and flavors. In the big cities you will find more diverse foods.

Anyway, as I leafed through my Six Seasons cookbook to look at the last season in it, winter, I realized there were very few recipes I could actually make here. Oh well. It doesn’t matter. There are many other things to make.

I was out at the local market this morning and made a concerted effort to see if I had just overlooked them in the past. Sadly, there’s were none. There is an abundance of winter veggies here in the winter, so I won’t complain. I came home with full bags.

A friend sent a recipe for lentil, leek and potato soup. I need leeks and potatoes to make it. Oddly, there was a big run on leeks. I was waiting at one stand and the guy in front of me bought them all! tutti! Grrr. And there were a bunch too. Then I went to the next two stands and they said “finito”. Finally at the last stand were about 8 left. So I waited my turn. A guy came up and told his wife he would get the leeks…over my dead body!! Success. (I’m nice, so I left him half…)

Tonight I have a nice fire. It is really cold and snow is predicted this weekend. The fire warms the kitchen…I hardly ever have a fire without using it to cook. So today, at the butcher, we got a Bistecca Fiorentina. Or Steak Florentine. It is huge!! But it will be good…

The things we do to amuse ourselves! Stay safe and well everyone.

8 thoughts on “I miss root vegetables

  1. Nancy Hampton Post author

    I’ve asked around and no one I know has seen any of them. And we aren’t all THAT far apart. Strano!

  2. Kathleen Shepard

    Nancy, I have found almost all of those root vegetables in various stores in our Montefiascone/Viterbo area.

  3. Nancy Hampton Post author

    There are tons of greens like chard, kale, Tuscan black kale, spinach. Lettuces. We have a few winter squashes. Also fennel bulbs. Broccoli. Cauliflower. Leeks. cabbages, red and green and white. Normal carrots, celery, onions, potatoes, garlic. That’s about it!

  4. Leslee

    I guess it’s like the old song but with a couple of changes. If you can’t eat what you love, then love what you can eat. Take care.

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