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Monday, January 5, 2015

Down to the Rutabagas

Rutabagas could almost be mistaken for turnips.
Only they're not turnips.
They're rutabagas.
The winter garden Nancy and I planted has exceeded all expectations.  It has survived.  So far, I've already brought in turnips, collards, broccoli, and cauliflower.  The cabbages seem to be forming heads, although I'm not sure.  These are thrilling developments for me, which gives you some idea what my life is like.

There's only one catch.  We also planted rutabagas.

Don't get me wrong: rutabagas are a wonderful, wonderful vegetable, only not for eating purposes.  You tell yourself when you plant rutabagas that there's no harm in it; after all, they're sure to die, if not from bad weather, then pure neglect.  Maybe you even whistle a happy tune as you plant them, never imagining these helpless-looking seedlings will one day grow into unpalatable root vegetables.  And then, one day you look into your garden and there they are.  Rutabagas.

Nancy is one of those people who likes rutabagas, but please don't hold that against her.  Every couple needs a list of foods that one partner enjoys but the other loathes.  This is so you can have at least one food all to yourself without being asked to share.  For example, I love licorice and Nancy can't abide it.  I can enjoy a box of licorice toffees or a bag of all-sorts, secure in the knowledge Nancy will not lean over and say, "Can I have some?"

Rutabagas, however, do not work like licorice.  It's not a case of, "That just means more rutabaga for me."  Like all vegetables, rutabagas are a communal food; both of you are expected to eat your share.

Each day when I go out to harvest more broccoli or cauliflower as the case may be, I see the rutabagas lying in the ground.  Waiting.  They could almost be mistaken for turnips.  But they aren't turnips.  They are rutabagas.  

The dilemma is, the longer I delay eating them, the bigger they grow, the more they soak up nutrients and transform them into rutabaga meat.  On the other hand, if I eat them now, what if a giant asteroid comes and smashes the earth to crumbs?  Wouldn't I feel like a chump knowing I'd eaten rutabagas just before the world ended and no one would ever have to eat rutabagas again?

But the world probably won't come to an end before the rutabagas get eaten.

As much as I'd like it to.

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