Sunday, May 4, 2008

Rutabaga resolve.

I'd like to take a minute and talk about Scandinavian influences on Pacific Northwest cuisine, and my ability to justify just about anything. The order is not important. What is important is that I exonerate myself for superfluous purchases in a dire economy, and maybe you learn a few nifty facts about the Worst Vegetable Ever, rutabaga.

I try to be thrifty and not wasteful. I say "no" quite a bit, knowing that consumption can quickly trap a person in a dark, spiritually deficient place. I've read "Your Money or Your Life" thrice; so I am well-schooled in the philosophy that material goods separate me from, not bring me closer to, a meaningful existence.

So what if you caught me chucking rutabagas (fact: rutabagas, known as "swedes" in the Midwest; also, I hate rutagabas) under the giant evergreen at dusk yesterday, into the tangle of blackberry bramble and ivy? (fact: the messy underside of our gorgeous backyard pine tree is a lazy girl's compost pile, also, my weekly vegetable and food delivery service, Organics to You, has sent me rutabagas every week since December, and I hate them, and I don't eat them, and so I'm wasteful.)

And then three hours later you saw me at Border's downtown, buying a cookbook on new Scandinavian cuisine with a hardly-worth-it coupon, the purchase justified with a promise to myself that that its contents would be churned into a worthy blog-post. Maybe you're a real bastard, and asked the follow-up question when you saw me: "How many cookbooks does a single girl need?" (fact: my new cookbook has many rutabaga-friendly recipes, and that is a cruel, fitting punishment for my unnecessary purchase (of cookbook, and rutabaga) and love of all things Scandinavian.)

When Greg Atkinson reviewed this cookbook for the Seattle Times last month, he observed that the ingredients (fresh fish, berries, 'begas) and inheritance (Swedish, Norwegian, Denmark, Finland) of Pacific Northwest cuisine owes a lot to our fair Scandinavian brothers and sisters. When I look at the pictures in this lovely cookbook, I feel like I'm peering into a beautiful, familial landscape. And that's gotta be worth twenty bucks at least, right? (fact: I will accumulate cookbooks until they overtake my home. Ditto for the 'bagas.)


Sarah said...

And just think - this moral quandry could have been solved with a simple phone call to Organics to You, or a nice gift basket of months' worth of 'bagas to your local homeless shelter or Freecyclers.

Before i come off sounding too high falutin, though, I should admit that I don't actually know what a rudebagah looks like.

janet said...

Cows looove rhutabagas! There must be some lucky cow in your area to toss it to!

Actually, they aren't bad raw with a little salt on them, like carrot sticks with a little metallic taste. They are passable mashed like potatoes, with lots of butter and salt and pepper, but hardly worth it if you have to eat more than a few tablespoons worth.