Monday, January 12, 2009

The Rutabaga Revolt

"It's not fair! Why don't YOU ever have to try anything new?"

This is what I was asked last week, during one of the Try Something New suppers. That I've been alive a lot longer, and have already tried many of these foods, doesn't occur to them. I'm just a big meanie, forcing them to eat unpronounceable dishes. So, I decided to join the kids in the trenches of our Supper Wars.

I took a casserole-roasted chicken recipe I've used (a variation of) for years now, one we all like, and followed it to the letter this time. Instead of choosing to use a few root vegetables, I used all the veggies on the list: potato, sweet potato, carrot, onion, leek, onion, and... lentils and RUTABAGA.

I didn't have anything against the rutabaga, I have just never felt the need to tackle one in my cooking. I'm sure my mom told me stories of her own childhood traumas, probably meant to allay the trauma she was inflicting on me with overcooked, previously frozen, brussels sprouts. You know, after the starving children would be grateful to have what you are turning up your nose at... at least I don't make you eat what my mother served us... blah, blah blah.

Peeled, chopped and roasted the veggies, along with the chicken breasts. Smelled fantastic. People were hungry. Scooped out the chicken & vegetables and turned the pan juices into gravy. Couscous was to be on the side, and I even made pilsbury crescent rolls, figuring I might need a bribe to get them past the lentils in the gravy.

The chicken was fantastic. The potatoes, leeks, onions, carrots - all delicious. There weren't even complaints about the lentils. There was only 1/2 cup in the whole dish, so the kids probably assumed those were bits of herbs and not a big deal. But the rutabaga? Nope.

The texture was about halfway between a potato and a carrot. The taste was about what you'd think carrot/potato would taste like, too. Pretty good start. But the aftertaste? Hard to describe. Not cabbage, but something like it. I ate mine, because I was setting an example, and really hungry. But I didn't like it much, either. I moved the bar lower than usual, and set one piece of rutabaga as the target. Two children made it. Middle child (B2) chose to go without a crescent roll, rather than finish the second bite of his rutabaga chunk.

Not every battle can be won, and it this case, I'm not sure I'd want to win. Tonight will be a peace offering. Chicken breasts, plain old green peas, and some pasta tossed in olive oil & garlic.

I'll stick with my original meal plan, but they can try butternut squash and barley risotto some other time.

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