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.

7 Responses to “A Turnip Tale: A Slice of Life Story”

  1. arjeha December 22, 2015 at 8:06 am #

    The first time I ate mashed turnips was at a Madrigal Dinner put on by one of our local churches. I must admit that liked them. I do like raw as well as cooked turnips. Oh well!

    • Adrienne December 22, 2015 at 8:11 am #

      Maybe they spiced them up in a way my mother didn’t.

  2. Lisa Orchard December 22, 2015 at 8:24 am #

    I’ve never eaten mashed turnips and after reading your post I don’t plan to! I’m stopping over from A Slice of Life! I hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

  3. newtreemom December 22, 2015 at 8:47 am #

    I’ve never had mashed turnips and don’t hope to, either. My mom started preparing turnips as part of her “all vegetable dinners” she would have from time to time in her last few years. She would slice them into a casserole dish, dot with butter, and steam in the microwave. They were actually pretty good that way.

  4. Ramona Behnke December 22, 2015 at 2:31 pm #

    Love your story and the way your mom ensured that you had your turnip portion. I never ate turnips until I lived in Hong Kong and learned to like turnip cake. I still get it when I eat dim sum. It doesn’t taste bitter – I wonder what the trick is.

  5. Lynn December 22, 2015 at 4:14 pm #

    I thought I was going to have a new recipe to try LOL! Believe it or not I have never tried a turnip . . . not sure if I ever will now. Happy holidays, and no mashed turnips!

  6. elsie December 22, 2015 at 4:38 pm #

    Some foods from our youth just have to disappear! I can’t say I’m a fan of cooked or raw turnips. Can we also add parsnips to the list too? 🙂

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