Encore: The Day I Bought a Turnip

The other day I bought a turnip.

A purple one.

For no apparent reason other than it reminded me of my childhood.

When it was summer, and my sisters and I were all sweaty and stinky and in want of a snack, my mother would quite often bar us from the house and send us scavenging to the garden.  In the garden we would find a veritable smorgasbord of vegetables. Often, we would stand in the middle of the pea patch and chow on fresh peas, fighting each other for the plumpest pods. The dogs would serve as furry garburators eagerly munching on the empty shells.

Next, we would wander over to the rows of carrots, pull up a few roots and casually wash them with the garden hose. We’d top off our afternoon snack with a visit to the raspberry batch.

But once in awhile we’d pull a turnip and hand it over to mother (through the screen door) and then wait patiently on the front step while she peeled it with a paring knife.

I LOVED raw purple turnips. Crispy and tart and exotic compared to the familiar fare of carrots and peas. Some years mom would plant kohlrabi, which soon became a fast favourite.  And it was fun to say, “koh – l-ra- bi.   Like cucumber and rabies,” I’d think in my little kid imagination.

Unfortunately my purple turnip purchase the other day, turned out to be slightly disappointing. The memory surrounding it far more satisfying than it’s taste. It did garner some attention at the staff lunchroom table as I attempted to peel it using a dull carving knife and proceeded to explain my choice of veggie that day.

But although its taste was bland and it’s texture dry, it did remind me of summer and childhood…something that is always an amusing thing to do.

So amusing in fact that

I think this week I’ll buy a box of Wagon Wheels and put one in my lunch every day of the week as my mother would do for me every day for school from grades two to six.

Maybe I still am skilled enough to eat all of the chocolate off first,

then peel the marshmallow off the cookie and eat it next

saving the graham cookie for last.


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