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A Turnip Tale: A Slice of Life Story

22 Dec


Holiday dinners were always exciting to set up, when I was a kid. We’d eat at the dining room table, and at the kitchen table , and sometimes had to add a card table in the living room. I loved getting out “the good silver” and reviewing where each of the forks and spoons went before setting them at each place. It all looked so festive.

The house always smelled great, usually of turkey, and the kitchen windows were always steamy. My mother never assigned seats, although she would tell you which table you were to sit at. But I always knew where my seat was because mine was the plate with raw turnip slices.

I don’t know why we always had mashed turnip at Christmas. When I saw turnip, American friends, you need to visualize a rutabaga. Growing up in southern Ontario, this was what we called a turnip, both the purple and white thing.


Have you ever tasted mashed turnips? I don’t recommend them. They look like orange mashed potatoes, but are horribly bitter and no amount of butter could make them palatable to me. I couldn’t abide the taste, but there was no way I’d be let off the hook. So, as my mother prepared the Christmas meal, she would set aside a few slices of uncooked turnip for me and I would happily munch on these while everyone else ate the mashed monstrosity.

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Now, as an adult, I eat neither turnips nor rutabaga. My 84-year-old mom no longer hosts big family gathering. And I bet that none of my siblings serve mashed turnips at their holiday feasts.

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