[center]It’s a Rutabaga, Dammit [/center]
“What is this, a coconut?” the checker at the grocery store asked.
“It’s a rutabaga,” I said.
She sighed, pulled out a notebook and began to search for a picture of the mysterious root vegetable and the corresponding checkout code.
“Ah, here it is,” she said finally. “No wait, that’s a potato.”
A line began to form behind me.
“Are you sure it’s not a coconut? Jicama maybe?” she said.
“Listen, the code for rutabaga is 4747. It’s 76 cents. Trust me on this.”
She looked up at me skeptically. “Um, you know the code?” she said, as if this were privileged information only revealed to Wal-Mart employees after a Skull and Bones-style secret initiation held in the dark of night.
“Yeah,” I replied, “this happens a lot.”
And it’s true. No one, especially the checkers at my usual grocery store, seems to know what the heck rutabagas are. And that’s too bad. Because if you make them part of your V-Life eating plan, they’ll help you stay lean and be very happy at meal time.
Rutabagas, sometimes called Swedish turnips, earn a few paragraphs in Dr. Jonny Bowden’s fantastic book, The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth. Although the taste and texture will remind you of a sweet potato, it’s more of a big fat turnip, part of the cabbage family actually, and thus has some cool anti-cancer properties. Rutabagas are low in calories so they’re great for volumizing a meal. Carbs are pretty low too and fiber is high. Nice.
Here are two quickie ways to cook 'em up:
Strip off the waxy skin with a potato peeler and cut into one-inch cubes. Pop them into the steamer basket and steam until they soften. Move to a bowl, add some omega-3 enriched butter, salt and pepper, and run a hand mixer or potato masher through them until you get a mashed-potato consistency. One of my favorite side dishes!
Peel off the skin and cut into cubes. Spray with olive oil, add salt and pepper, and place them onto a flat pan. Pop 'em in the oven for 20 minutes or so at 400 degrees until they’re soft in the center and a little crisp on the outside. (Flip halfway through cooking.)
If you have a french fry cutter, you can also make rutabaga steak fries. Same thing as above really, just in a more familiar shape.
Rutabaga makes a great addition to <a href="http://velocity.tmuscle.com/free_online_program/sports_body_training_diet_velocity/velocity_diet_30#velocity-diet-3-0"target=“new”>V-Diet HSMs too. Give it a shot and let me know what you think!
And remember, the code is 4747. You’ll need it.