The Turnip

One of my favorite children’s books is “The Turnip,” an old Russian folktale illustrated by Pierr Morgan. An enormous turnip grows in the field and Dedoushka, a portly farmer, can’t pull it up from the ground. He solicits help from the whole family including the pets. I love imitating the voices of Baboushka, Mashenka,and Keska, the cat. Pierr Morgan’s skillful and colorful illustrations complete the zest and liveliness of “The Turnip.” 

I thought of “The Turnip” today when I found our turnips ready for harvest and called for my son to help me pick some. He looked at me and said “Pull it?” I said “Go ahead.” He pulled and “Out came the turnip!” He was so excited. 

Next he helped to dig my first ever harvest of garlic. With every scoop of dirt pushed away, a huge worm was revealed and my son promptly transferred it into his own garden of soon to be sunflowers, cosmos and zinnias. I’m so proud that he even thought to do that! He knows those worms are gold!

But today’s bounty convinced me turnips are the perfect vegetable. Not too sweet, a little bitter, and very versatile. For dinner we had local organic country rib marinated and grilled, with our fresh sautéd turnip greens and garlic scapes, and mashed turnip roots. The turnips gave us plenty of food to feed the three of us – along with the pork. Simple and so yummy too! My two favorite ingredients these days are fresh ground white pepper and smoked sea salt. They’re both sort of subtle and delicious!

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