Tuesday, November 17, 2020

A Parsnip in a Pear Tree?

I was recently introduced to the idea of parsnips as holiday food. I thought it a fine idea, even though I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a parsnip. But I discovered that Mrs. Beeton had a great deal to say of them in her Book of Household Management, which we’ve discussed before

According to Mrs. Beeton, parsnips are native in Britain and in season from November through June. They could be found growing wild in meadows and along the roadsides but were also cultivated. She warns that the young root is sweet and smells good, but an older root can cause vertigo and delirium. Parsnips can be used to make bread and wine as well as eaten as a vegetable. As a vegetable, they were served with salted cod and egg sauce, as an accompaniment for boiled beef, as dressing for a sheep’s head, and as garnish for boiled leg of pork.

So, courtesy of Mrs. Beeton, I give you two recipes for parsnips.

Parsnip Soup

1 lb sliced parsnips
2 oz. butter, melted
1 quart beef, vegetable, or chicken stock
Salt and cayenne to taste

Put the parsnips into the stewpan with the butter, and simmer them till quite tender. Then add nearly a pint of stock, and boil together for half an hour. Pass all through a fine strainer, and add the remainder of the stock. Season, boil, and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Boiled Parsnips

Parsnips, washed, scraped thoroughly, and black specks removed; cut into quarters if large
Water, salted at the rate of 1 heaped tablespoon of per gallon

Put parsnips into boiling water, and boil them rapidly until tender, ½ to 1 hour, depending on the size of the parsnips. Drain and serve. Serves 1 parsnip per person.

Need a little company while you’re cooking for the December holidays? Consider preordering the audiobook for Never Marry a Marquess. It’s available for preorder now and can be downloaded beginning December 8. 



Happy Thanksgiving! Marissa and I will be out next week. We'll see you on Tuesday, December 1.

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