I was looking up a few things on the intranets, among them where parsnips derived from, and found out all kinds of interesting things. Chief among them (aside from learning in the wild they're easy to confuse with hemlock - oops) that parsnips and root vegetables were used like potatoes until those arrived from the new world, and that parsnips have more vitamins and minerals than carrots. The potato part doesn't suprise me; I love mashed parsnips--and I guess they are sometimes taken away after cooking and used for flavor. My guest had never had them and thought they were potato-like.. Today, I put them in a chicken soup I made with carrots, onions, celery, and quinoa pasta (gluten free), which works perfectly in the soup. And, since you didn't ask, my recipe is basically:
Whole roast chicken from the grocery store (or you can roast it yourself, but if you're in a pinch this is easier)
Pull off meat, boil carcass and skin for broth, and flavor as desired. I put a little fennel, rosemary, and dill in today, sometimes it's tarragon, and even a dash of cinammon if I'm feeling crazy. If you do it delicately enough you can't quite pinpoint the flavor, but it's welcome (not like "ew--what's this?![drop spoon]).
Add onion, celery after removing bones, etc., boil, then root vegetables, then corn, and pasta.
Soup's a blast that way, and chicken's the best for just putting whatever in. And with warm iron skillet cornbread, it's a wonderful Sunday eve meal with leftovers for the week.
While I was cooking, I listened to Dolly Parton's Backwood's Barbie album, which I don't think I'd listened to at one sitting. A friend bought me the "Cracker Barrell" special edition, the inside notes of which begin with "Dolly wants a cracker!" I kid you not. That can only be the reason for the last song, called "Berry Pie", which is about as complex and also ear-worm-y as "Short'nin' Bread". She basically sings "I'm gonna make him some berry pie, berry pie, berry pie" over and over. Now, I love Dolly, but oy, this song. I guess when you're one of the 5 most prolific composers in Western music, you're going to have a questionable entry now and again.
Anyhow, there's a song on the album called Shinola, the main lyric being "you don't know love from Shinola". So I thought, since I grew up with a Dad that used the phrase "he doesn't know sh*t from Shinola" a lot, I would like to find out what exactly Shinola was. I thought it might be a product (unless it was a town in Kansas), and I was right. Turns out it's a shoe polish brand from the 20s. It's in Wikipedia, but what's brilliant is the overly self-conscious voice of the person who wrote the entry. It's in hysterically direct opposition to the colloquialism of the phrase. And I love Wikipedia for that. And when I read it, I'm not sure if the person is serious or not--and that makes it even better:
Shit and Shinola, while superficially similar in appearance, are entirely distinct in their function; only one is good for polishing shoes, and anyone who fails to distinguish one from the other must be ignorant or of low acuity.