Getting Back to Our Roots
Another election season is firing up. I know because of the steady stream of email and calls coming in “a strong candidate for the District 3 Congressional seat” “support my reelection so I can further work that I’ve begun” “conservative democrat who will bring change”. Each one is attempting to define their personal brand as they enter the political contest. I don’t get terribly involved but I do watch with interest. In one particular election, an incumbent is fighting hard to reestablish herself as a strong local leader. She’s a dynamic woman with vision and talent and during her first term, that often led her away from the community to larger state and national platforms. Exposure that was good for her political future? Hopefully, but also exposure that took her away from the citizens that had put her into office. Now, she’s working diligently to remind others of the reasons she was originally elected. She’s trying to reclaim her roots.
Last year, I had the pleasure of taking a memoir class that offered the opportunity to consider my own roots. As I’ve mentioned, those are Kansan roots and I found the act of writing about them one of self-discovery and delight. I was able to recall events and details from years before that have contributed to the person I’ve become. Documenting personal and family heritage was somehow therapeutic. It’s important to remember where we’ve come from – our roots. It can help us get to where we’re going.
This campaign season lines up perfectly with our winter growing season. Carrots, Beets, Parsnips, Turnips, Radishes, Jerusalem Artichokes… our CSA is delivering a weekly bag of these bountiful supplies to our kitchen. We roast them, shred them, grill them and even throw them into the blender with our smoothies. They are firm and hearty, often starchy and always fill that spot that has been reserved for what has come to be known as comfort food. And it’s highly likely that somewhere in the archives, there is a recipe or a dish using these root vegetables that is part of your own personal or family history.
How can you go about reclaiming your roots?
Parsnips baked with Kumquats and Pears
Serves six as a side dish
1 lb parsnips peeled
- 2 pears peeled
- 12 kumquats
- 4 Tbs. melted butter
- 3 Tbs. light brown sugar
- 3 Tbs. orange juice squeezed from a large navel orange
- 1 Tbs Grand Marnier
Preheat the oven to 350. Slice parsnips, pears and kumquats in 1/4 inch cross sections. Arrange parsnips and pears in an alternating pattern in a square baking dish. Place the kumquat slices evenly throughout the dish. Mix butter, brown sugar, orange juice and Grand Marnier in a small bowl. Pour over the parsnip mixture. Cover with a lid or aluminum foil and bake for one hour. Remove the foil for the last 15 minutes in order to brown.
Posted by Tammy on February 21, 2010