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The Aesthetic Qualities of a Rutabaga

November 3, 2010

I spent years dreaming of gardens, but never felt I had the time, the right space, or the right climate until now. So forgive me if I seem obsessed. But one and a half seasons into my experiment, I’ve been wondering what took me so long. I love everything about growing things. I love digging in the dirt, watching and stirring a compost pile, planting tiny seeds and watching them grow into giant delicious edible plants.

I love the whole experience of cooking and preserving food from the garden, including the knowledge that in some measure I’m less dependent on the supermarket and the distance that food often must travel from field to table.

And finally, I love just looking at fresh fruit and vegetables just for their aesthetic qualities. When I pick or dig up something wonderful from the garden, the first thing I always want to do is photograph it. Here is the rutabaga that we’ll be having for dinner tonight. This is the first time I’ve ever grown them, and they are a pleasure to grow.

I love the shape and the tangle of roots. And this is after I removed all the huge leaves and cooked them for another dinner. I’d never tasted rutabaga greens, but I’m happy to report that they are mild and tender, much like kale.

Tonight we will have this one mashed with butter, salt and pepper just like potatoes. But as I was slicing it I tasted it raw to see how sweet it was. It was delicious. All three dogs were very curious about what I was slicing, since they love all kinds of fruit and vegetables. Come to find out they love rutabaga.

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16 Comments leave one →
  1. November 3, 2010 2:18 pm

    LOL! Martha you are so cute. 🙂

    I’m so happy you have a lovely space to grow such yummy veges in! I remember when I was a kid and being forced to eat all kinds of veges, my mom said that the one vege she would NOT ever make us eat was a rutabaga! LOL I was so thankful that she hated them because the one taste I had wasn’t very pleasant. I’d probably love them now since I eat all kinds of veges these days.

    Thanks for sharing your very healthy ‘obsession’ with us!

    • November 4, 2010 8:46 am

      Itaya, you have to admit that rutabaga is an awesome sight! And yes, I’m a little crazed when it comes to that garden. The rutabaga was good, but one has to have “grown up” taste buds to appreciate such things, I think. Bet you’d like them now. My husband will eat most everything I put in front of him, except that he is not about to eat Brussels sprouts. I’ve tried them on him different ways, but no dice. I finally gave up on that one.

  2. November 3, 2010 2:49 pm

    OMG Martha! Do remember what the reaction was when I wrote a blog about how much I hate okra and turnips? I was attacked by a mob of bloggers. lol I don’t think I’ve even tasted a rutabaga but I totally agree with the aesthetics of it’s form. Its really beautiful! I love the soft values of purple and then pale green of it’s leaves. If you don’t do a painting of it – I will.
    Vikki

    • November 4, 2010 8:48 am

      Vikki, that’s so funny about your okra and turnips blog post. I haven’t had many rutabagas, but did remember that I liked them, so decided to try them in the garden. I didn’t plant that many. I think there are maybe four or five more out there. I mean, how many rutabagas can one eat in a season anyway!?

      I love how it looks too. Please help yourself to the image for a painting. Email me if you’d like the bigger version. And I’d love to see it when you’re done!

  3. November 3, 2010 3:10 pm

    Beautiful photograph. The form is very interesting and the colors lovely. Can’t wait to how it finds its way into your work.

    • November 4, 2010 8:51 am

      Kim, I enjoyed so much looking at that rutabaga. Glad I took a picture so I can keep thinking about the shape and colors.

  4. November 3, 2010 3:30 pm

    Beautiful photo! yummy post!

  5. November 3, 2010 10:42 pm

    hi there, that looks like a gorgeous rutabaga, i might have to try growing one. i love the soft mauve/green tones.

    • November 4, 2010 8:53 am

      Sally, they are easy to grow! I don’t know where you’re located, but you can plant them very early in the spring too.

  6. November 4, 2010 3:40 pm

    veggies do have noteworthy aesthetic qualities. i quite enjoy your gardening/food posts! further proof that for an artist, life and art are one in the same.

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