WTF is a parsnip?
I see myself as someone who likes to cook. I was 14 when I started making dinner for myself regularly. I slowly graduated from cereal to frozen meals to microwaved “baked” potatoes, to actual baked potatoes, to fried eggs, to quesadillas, soups, perfect sautéed kale and brussel sprouts and my infamous “vegan moosh” series.
In the kitchen, I tend to make things up as I go and when something turns out good, I master it and make it over and over and over. My patience for reading recipes and searching unknown isles at the grocery store is low, to say the least...
However, last week a sweet student brought me a bag full of mystery vegetables from their garden (they had told me what they were, but I had forgotten by the time I was home). In my kitchen, with the mystery veggies in hand, I googled “root vegetables” and deduced from the image search that what I had were four enormous parsnips.
I thought to myself “WTF do I do with parsnips?”
Again, google to the rescue!
After combing through a few recipes I decided on a Cream of Parsnip & Carrot Soup. I reviewed the recipe, wrote a list of necessary ingredients, and headed to the grocery store. It’s worth noting that this was a Sunday afternoon (why do I always end up there on Sunday?) and it was an absolute zoo. I circled the store searching for the things I rarely buy. On what seemed like my ninth lap around I seriously considered abandoning my efforts, giving the vegetables to someone else and just making something I already knew how to cook. I thought to myself “Do I even really like to cook?” Something inside possessed me to carry on and, begrudgingly, I gathered what I needed and made my way home.
As I started moving through the recipe I hit a few obstacles.
I forgot to buy carrots. Fuck.
The recipe outlined vegetable proportions by weight, as if I had a scale. Double fuck.
Again, the thought to abandon my efforts and again, something inside me possessed me to carry on. I liberated carrots from my roommates (thanks y’all!) and decided guestimating vegetables would just have to do. I moved on step by step, witnessing my own impatience slowly melt like butter into soft onions.
Once all of the labor was done and the recipe was set to simmer I took a step back and started cleaning the mess I’d made around me in the kitchen. As I wiped the counter clean and marinated in the growing smell of yummmmmm that was taking over the house, I smiled as I noticed the thought “I love to cook!”
As I sat that night and enjoyed the goodness of this new spicy-earthy-creamy flavor, I reflected on the process of holding myself with patience in the discomfort of exploring unchartered territory. I thought about how this opportunity is everywhere, in everything and I saw myself clearly: someone who loves to learn, experience, and grow.