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.
Previous Post
Leave a comment


  1. Cindy

     /  February 21, 2010

    I agree, roots run especially deep in your backyard. The wind might try to carry you away but you’ll always be strongest closest to home. Sometimes we forget…..

  2. Cen Clark

     /  February 21, 2010

    Tammy, what a great blog and essay! I loved it. I could feel the depth of your roots within the essay. As a child of immigrant parents who became citizens early in their years here in the United State, I’ve worked hard to share some hispanic roots with my children. My parents worked hard to be American and thus for their children to be American – with the exception of our birth names and a few traditions sprinkled in our lives. Your blog and essay gave me an opportunity to self relect about my roots and upbringing. Thank you.

    • Thanks for reading Cen and for sharing. It’s great that it gave you the opportunity to think about your own roots and how to pass those along!

  3. Sally Mom

     /  February 22, 2010

    Having parents that grew up during the depression and honoring every morsel presented to their bodies and sharing stories with people who immigrated from all over the world, to become Americans and starting with so little. The Garden was the salvation and sustanance that became the fuel to grow strong bodies and minds when little else was available. And now we are getting back in the balance with feeding our bodies and souls nutritiously with fuel from the earth. Eating clean and wholesome.
    Thank you Tammy. I love your blog and support your continuance to inspire. I love you!

    • Hi Sally,
      Thanks so much for reading the blog. I can totally relate to the garden becoming a place of sustanance and salvation. It’s another way that much of our country is returning to it’s roots.

  4. Brother Kevin

     /  February 22, 2010

    Vickie and I are fortunate enough to enjoy the fruit of some mature grape vines on our property. The roots of these plants create remarkably strong networks, binding neighboring vines one to the other well below ground, and well out of sight. These extensive root networks contribute to amazingly strong, resilient, and productive plants.

    I don’t care to use social networking sites. However, I deeply rely on the network I have, even if it’s underground and out of sight. I’m grateful to have you as a part of it. Love you, sister. Love your blog.

    • Kevin,
      Great coments about the roots of grape vines! I love that they bind neighbors together – even if they are out of sight and underground! Thanks for reading the blog. I appreciate it.

  5. this does look good!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: