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What a feast!

    The old Garay Piac back in 1966. Exactly one year before I came to Canada.

I recall the stalls were laden with carrots and white carrots. Yes there is a white carrot Hungarians use in soups and stews. White carrots grow to the same size and are as dense as carrots. But they taste different. White carrots are not sweet. White carrot leaves are the actual flat leaf parsley. I can get Italian parsley during the summer. But their roots are unusable and are nothing like the lovely white carrots that grow in Hungary. Speaking of parsley, during winter all we have is curly parsley which has a faint parsley taste. I have to dump loads of this thing into a dish to get a bit of flavour. But like many immigrants before us, we adjusted to substitutes. Instead of white carrot, we use parsnip.

Hungarian Carrots and White Carrots

Native to Europe and Asia, parsnip was brought to Canada in the seventeenth century by the French. Parsnip looks a lot like white carrot, but the taste is vastly different. Plus it can grow to gigantic sizes. Parsnip is a pretty magical vegetable if you ask me. 

Parsnip takes all summer to grow, but is really a spring vegetable. The ones we pick in September cook up bland and mushy. I put them in soups and stews for a bit of flavour and then discard them. But the roots left in the ground until next spring become sweet, nutty and delicious. With the ground finally thawing we harvested the first batch of parsnips yesterday. Oh my! It was unbelievably good.

Parsnips from the Spring Harvest

6 parsnips 
1 cup whipping cream 
1 cup buttermilk 
4 garlic cloves, crushed 
1 cup mashed potato or 2/3 cup of potato flakes 
salt and pepper to taste 
1-1/2 cups cheddar, grated 

•Preheat the oven to 350F. 
• Peel and slice the parsnips. 
• Put the cream and garlic in a saucepan and bring to the boil. 
• Add the sliced parsnips and simmer for five minutes. 
• Remove pot from heat. 
• In a small bowl combine the mashed potato with the buttermilk. 
• Add to the pot and stir to combine. 
• Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. 
• Butter an ovenproof dish and pour in the parsnip mixture. 
• Top with grated cheddar. 
• Place in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Magnifique!



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