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Cabbage, Radishes, Pearl - Barnstorming on an Invisible Segway [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Marissa Lingen

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Cabbage, Radishes, Pearl [Nov. 25th, 2015|10:45 am]
Marissa Lingen
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Dear Great-Grandma,

I was in the store just after 6 this morning, beating the crowds to get my Thanksgiving supplies. The clerk said to me, “I can see you’re in charge of the vegetables this year. You have all the fancy things.” She was holding a cabbage and a bunch of radishes.

And I thought of you, Great-Grandma. I thought of you and your cousins, up early to get to the market to get the good cheap cabbages and radishes and the other winter vegetables of the north, get them before they were picked over. Get the family fed. All the fancy things.

Great-Grandma, you’ve arrived.

You’re looking over my shoulder as I marinate the thin-sliced beef for tonight’s noodle soup, nodding, oh yah, you can stretch a lot of soup out of that much meat, don’t need much to make it soup, to make it taste fine. Especially with a dab of pepper there, yep, hardly anyone will taste you didn’t put much meat in there, mostly carrots and radishes cut real thin. And noodles, lots of noodles, that’ll make it last. You can feed those big men for days on that soup, they’ll never guess how little you spent on the meat. Good girl.

I wouldn’t even tell you that’s not what I’m doing. I’d just say, you wouldn’t believe how cheap I got this big thing of dates–up on University there’s a Persian grocery that sells them, a quarter the price of a regular grocery store. They have a streetcar you could take there again, just like in the old days. Sit down and have some dates. Have some pecans with them. Take a load off your feet, Great-Grandma. Didn’t you hear the lady at the store? You’re one of the fancy things now. All those days of making it last, making do: you’ve made it.



Originally published at Novel Gazing Redux


From: atheilen
2015-11-25 07:04 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: fidelioscabinet
2015-11-25 07:38 pm (UTC)
My mother will snicker when I tell her this. She's 99 and remembers going down to the cellar to get sauerkraut out of the crock*. There's a reason "cold as kraut" used to be a saying.

*It was homemade like the pickles and the jam. 100 pounds of cabbage, big grater like a washboard, and salt. And the salt-glazed crocks. Fancy, you bet.
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[User Picture]From: thanate
2015-11-25 08:04 pm (UTC)
Cabbage. My goodness.
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[User Picture]From: reveritas
2015-11-25 09:48 pm (UTC)
:) So sweet.
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[User Picture]From: wordweaverlynn
2015-11-26 06:43 am (UTC)
How lovely.
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[User Picture]From: sam_t
2015-11-26 11:43 am (UTC)
Reaction 1:
Huh, I think of radishes as a summer vegetable. If cabbages are a fancy vegetable, what counts as not fancy? Mind you, I've always thought of savoy cabbages as quite impressive and stylish - it must take hours for tiny dressmakers to do all that quilting.

Reaction 2 doesn't really have words.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2015-11-26 11:56 am (UTC)
You're right, I am probably lumping too many root veg together.

At least I wasn't buying parsnips and turnips and rutabagas. I tell you a story!

So my uncle Phil is a retired gentleman. In his 70s. He does the grocery shopping for himself and my aunt. Many people assume that this means he is widowed, because men of his generation do less of that sort of chore, but no, he's just awesome, has been doing the shopping for years. So he became gradually aware that there was a woman of about his age following him through the grocery store and smiling at him. Following...smiling.

Then he got to the produce department. Picked out parsnips, turnips, rutabagas. His follower looked him directly in the eye and said right out loud, "NAH--too WEIRD!" and turned and walked off.
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[User Picture]From: sam_t
2015-11-27 09:59 am (UTC)
Oh, that's brilliant.

I had an enormous swede (rutabaga - at least, I think they're the same vegetable) in my veg box twice running, recently, and have discovered that they're great in a slow-cooked beef stew. I don't really like carrots in a stew so I mostly put it in out of desperation (I like swede and potato mash, but not all the time) but it turned out well: velvety but not mushy texture, and enough flavour to be its own thing but melding with rather than trying to outshine the beef. Sliced, fried in butter then braised in stock is also good, but that goes for a lot of things.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2015-11-27 02:20 pm (UTC)
What! Yams too?

That is: does rysmiel react that way to yams too?

Edited at 2015-11-27 02:20 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2015-11-27 02:23 pm (UTC)
And greet AM for me!

I think the most disappointed look TNH has ever given me was when she had a lot of Roman coins and there was a soldier dragging a root vegetable around, and she said no, it was the head of a barbarian.

I said, "Oh! It's a Swede, not a swede!"

Such a look I got. The, "I thought you were different, but no, you're just another one of THEM" look.

Edited at 2015-11-27 02:32 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: sam_t
2015-11-27 04:55 pm (UTC)
I came across rutabagas in David Eddings, I think, from which I think I got the idea that they were something like sugar beet except without the sugar. I was very puzzled when I found that they were (a)real, (b)edible by humans and (c)a vegetable I already knew.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2015-11-27 02:22 pm (UTC)
I do like carrots in a stew. I could see both, though.

I am pretty amiable about root vegetables. Except celeriac. I wanted with my whole heart to love celeriac because it is the baobab planet from Le Petit Prince right there in one's hand, but I can't do it, I just can't.
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[User Picture]From: sam_t
2015-11-27 04:41 pm (UTC)
I like celeriac in celeriac rémoulade, and that's about it, which is puzzling as I really like celeriac rémoulade. It's OK in mash if I manage to get the timing right and dilute it a lot with potato and butter. I don't like it roasted at all.
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[User Picture]From: ethelmay
2015-11-28 11:18 pm (UTC)
I am pretty sure I like celeriac in stew, though it's a long time since I had it. I am fond of celery (mirepoix would be a useful word for me if I could ever remember it without Google, as that's what I start with for about half the things I cook), and I like most root vegetables in stew, and I just remember it as being sort of turnip-textured but tasting of celery, which was fine.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2015-11-29 12:02 am (UTC)
Yes, whereas I despise celery. I think of it as being the texture, but clearly it has bled into being the taste, too, where the taste of pineapple is still fine.
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[User Picture]From: carbonel
2015-11-30 07:08 pm (UTC)
I do like carrots in a stew.

I think carrots belong in a stew, though I eat them first because I don't like them as well as the other stuff.

Peas, though, do not belong. At least not in my stew. No small squishy popping things in my stew, please.

Edited at 2015-11-30 07:08 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: genarti
2015-12-04 09:34 pm (UTC)
This made me tear up, just a little. Yes.
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