Before refrigeration was common, most people had root cellars at home. The cellar might be underground, in the side of a hill or covered by a sturdy shed to keep food- mostly root vegetables-from freezing during winter and spoiling in the hot summer months. Few of us have root cellars anymore, but we still like eating the easy-to-store vegetables. Carrots, beets and onions are among the most common root vegetables, but others-parsnips, celeriac or jicama-are worth considering, too. F&W's guide offers recipes for every season and introduces you to unfamiliar root vegetables from other cuisines (think yuca or taro).
More Root Vegetables
Rutabaga, Celery Root, and Potato Gratin
Carrot Steaks with Roasted Garlic Hollandaise
Ginger- and Molasses-Glazed Root Vegetables
I’ve been an avid reader of Food & Wine magazine since the beginning. And for 38 of those 40 years, I was privileged to work frequently in the Food & Wine Test Kitchen with many remarkable cooks. As you can imagine, I have come to love the recipes in this magazine, and I have made them countless times over the decades.But there are a few recipes that I love so much that they’ve joined the rotation at our house. Some have even become members of the holiday pantheon, and we all know what an honor and a privilege that is! There hasn’t been a Thanksgiving since the mid-1980s that hasn’t included these savory (and just a little bit sweet) root vegetables that I found in F&W way back in 1985. They’ve even joined other F&W recipes on the menu when we hosted elaborate Christmas dinners for our circle of struggling actor friends. I realize root vegetables don’t strike most people as sexy, but this recipe takes these workhorses of the winter kitchen—carrots, turnips, and parsnips—and turns them into a dish fit even for the most celebratory of holidays.As a child, I hated cooked carrots. And turnips and parsnips never had a place at our family table. But the alchemy of ginger, garlic, and molasses makes these so good that not only does everyone ask for seconds, but I’ve taken to writing out the recipe before dinner because it’s inevitably demanded by multiple guests.The original recipe didn’t include parsnips, but I added them because they bring a wonderful depth of flavor that contrasts beautifully with the carrot’s simpler sweetness. The turnips bring their own spicy crunch to the party. I also changed the cut of the vegetables from a very 1980s matchstick to simpler, more modern half-moons. This change of shape allows the vegetables to retain a bit more of the crunch we all appreciate. Spicy, sweet, savory with a nice crunch … What more could one want or expect from a side dish that deserves to be at the center of the table?