Thursday, November 11, 2021

Mobile, Alabama: Rutabagas



An altar of rutabagas. Mobile, Alabama. November 2021.
An altar of rutabagas. Mobile, Alabama. November 2021.

When I was a teen, I enjoyed several weeks-long stays with my mother's mother, May. She liked to cook me lunch. May introduced me to two vegetables, boiled, that I'd never had at home.

A turnip. 

A rutabaga.

Each was a curiosity and mildly pleasing in an almost-sour sort of way. Alt-potatoes, you might say. 

May prepared the exotic-to-me vegetables one time only. Since those two experiences, decades ago, I may have experimented with a boiled turnip once, but otherwise, I never ate either again. 

But now I'm in Mobile, Alabama. And in the last two months, I estimate I've eaten a pound of rutabaga a day. 

This is because I have become accustomed to do my weekly produce shopping at the Mac's Produce Market over on Old Schell Road. There is a bin of rutabagas there. Fifty-nine cents a pound. 

I slice the wax-and-skin layer from this graceless, blobular root vegetable, chunk up the yellow flesh (which requires some muscle), boil it, then sear the chunks in my skillet to put on a little char and coax its inherent sweetness out some more. I season the rutabaga with salt, pepper, cinnamon, and some Splenda.

Because of the weekly pile o' rutabagas at Mac's, I thought there was a connection between Alabama and rutabagas, but I find no evidence of same. 

How long will my rutabaga run last? Dunno. Prolly til the local supply disappears or the price jacks up.

Sidebar: Note my little herb garden of rosemary and basil. 

Related posts

2019: Tucson, AZ: Food Rescue

2016: Antigua, Guatemala: Inside the Municipal Market

2016: El Paso: Back in the Kingdom of Ants

2013: Lafayette, Louisiana: Oil Center Farmer's Market in Winter

2012: Istanbul: Larceny and Spice (and leeches)

2011: Rustavi, Caucasus Georgia: At the "Big" Market

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