rutabaga (n.)“Swedish turnip,” 1799, from Swedish dialectal (West Götland) rotabagge, from rot “root” (from PIE root *wrād- “branch, root”) + bagge “bag” (see bag (n.)). (from Etymology Online)
There was a time in my life when I had never, to my knowledge, eaten rutabaga. That day has long since passed. At some point, maybe 20 years ago or so, rutabaga became a key component of the roasted root vegetables that I make as part of our fall and winter holiday feasts. But it turns out that I can’t always find rutabaga at the grocery store. So it was that when I was in Vermont on Saturday, I brought home not only my firstborn child, but also a rather substantial rutabaga. We had stopped in to the local co-op/grocery store for snacks for the road, and I poked my head into the rather small produce section. Having not scored a rutabaga at my local store, I was happy to see rutabagas in stock. There were only a few, and all of them looked pretty big. I picked out the smallest one. Which, it turns out, was still quite large. I didn’t think too much of it until checking out, at which point the cashier said, “wow, that’s a big rutabaga.” It turned out to be over 3 pounds, and to cost over $10. I considered putting it back (because this seemed a rather hefty commitment for one root vegetable), but in the end, decided to pay the hefty sum and heft the hefty root home.
But I also decided that I would get my money’s worth out of it. Not only in the roast pan, but also here. Having once declared November 21 to be the International Day of the Odd Vegetable (or alternately the Day of Peculiar Produce), I decided that I would share my bounty pictorially. Joining the annals of noteworthy produce, such as the extraordinary eggplant of 2011, the dashing squash of 2012, and the sorrowful potato of 2015, I bring to you the humble but hulking rutabaga of 2022.
Below are some of the photos that I took of this venerable vegetable. I wasn’t sure what the appropriate light would be for its portrait session, so I tried several options and backdrops.
Brodie was uncertain of the threat-level of this rutabaga.
One thing that struck me about this rutabaga was its resemblance to an old-fashioned ice bag or cold compress. (And one thing that strikes me in writing this is that the hefty rutabaga is one thing that I would not want to be struck with. Especially about the head. Because I would certainly need an ice pack to recover.)
I was also amused to note that the etymology of rutabaga contains roots meaning “root” and “bag.” So aptly named. I think my rutabaga should be the poster child for rutabaga etymology.