Cinnamon and Sugar Parsnips

As fascinating as the image may be of portly, bewigged dudes sitting around coffee shops being witty, I confess that as an English major I never found the literature of the “long eighteenth century” particularly interesting. But it did, admittedly, produce some of the most colorful characters of British history: A contemporary and frequent correspondent with Samuel Pepys, John Evelyn was a noted bibliophile, diarist, and gardener, and became in his elder years one of the first in early modern Europe to advocate for a diet of “wholsome Vegatables.” His book Acetaria: A Discourse of Sallets, both a compendium of horticultural lore and manual for vegetarian cookery, was written in part as a corrective to the current and unhealthful vogue for red meat (and, not unlikely, for the associated problem of the aforementioned portliness among the gentlemanly class).

Parsnips

I followed here Evelyn’s description of the preparation of parsnips, substituting a non-hydrogenated vegan-friendly margarine for butter, and dusting the finished product with a two-to-one mixture of sugar and cinnamon: “Take the large Roots, boil them, and strip the Skin: Then slit them long-ways into pretty thin Slices; Flower and fry them in fresh Butter till they look brown. The sauce is other sweet Butter melted. Some strow Sugar and Cinamon upon them. Thus you may accomodate other Roots.”

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6 Responses to “Cinnamon and Sugar Parsnips”

  1. Desdemona Says:

    Parsnips are one of the very few foods my partner has ever claimed to hate, along with brussels sprouts and lima beans. I’ve pretty much won him over on the sprouts through my bodacious roasting methods (and I confess that unhappy childhood associations prevent me feeling much love for limas), but he continues to insist that the humble parsnip, like the snake, has “an aura of evil.” I, however, love them, and I’m prepared to “accomodate” them in this way and see if I can’t change his mind. I mean, cinnamon, sugar and loads of EB: what’s not to like, right?

  2. hoveringdog Says:

    “Aura of evil,” ha. I got hooked on parsnips when I lived in England, had never eaten them before. The anemic imports we get here aren’t quite the same, but there are few things ample amounts of sugar, fat, and spices can’t rescue.

  3. Kimberlee Says:

    This is one of the few blogs I’ve read in a while with a completely different voice than the rest and it is far from mundane. Thanks for posting, I’ll keep reading.

  4. NOT my favorite era of literature either (in fact, my least), but it appears someting good did come of it! these parsnips sound like heaven.

  5. “I got hooked on parsnips when I lived in England, had never eaten them before. The anemic imports we get here aren’t quite the same, but there are few things ample amounts of sugar, fat, and spices can’t rescue.”

    This. Now I need to go get some parsnips. Immediately.

  6. Me too Stella! Totally curious. Must attempt recipe soon.

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