It wasn’t until the year 2016 I learned about a vegetable called rutabaga (RU-TAH-BAY-GAH). You’re like what the heck is that? Every time I check out at the grocery store, the clerk who should know every item seems to look like they’re constipated and can never get the food right. Just the other day I was there to grab stuff to prepare for the holidays. Like I’ve always dreamed of doing, I somehow inherited my mother’s trait and became that lady at the checkout lane who creepily stares only at the computer monitor to ensure the prices checked out right. If they didn’t, I would stomp my feet, shake my head and firmly correct the clerk with pride. OK, I don’t really stomp my feet but you get it. As the computer scanned the kale and ginger, I noticed the rutabaga was about to hit. Within just seconds as I had expected, the middle-aged clerk looked perplexed as a teen confused about her own sexuality and asked, “Oh, are those turnips?” I replied, “No, it’s a rutabaga. You know, RU TAH BAY GAH.” The clerk replied, “Oh, OK, let me look that one up.” I then display my lack of patience for the ineptitude this clerk possessed. Two minutes had passed and I’ve already rolled my eyes and cracked my neck until the clerk said, “Ah, that took some time. I got it.” With relief, I decided to turn to the bagging kid to make sure he doesn’t screw up either with my shit. I scan his bagging style and notice that he does a decent job. I then decide to look back at the computer monitor. In an instant, my heart starts to beat uberfast and I started howling at the clerk, “STOP! WAIT! HOLD UP! WHAT…..IS……..THAT????” The monitor showed a price of $38 and change for an item I couldn’t read or understand. I knew for sure that I DID NOT grab an item that was within the two digit range. I continued, “What is that $38 there?” The incapable clerk whom I already had no respect for from the start had opened all my bagged produce to put her filthy hands on the price tags said, “I don’t know. It’s what I scanned and what came up.” I knew then and there that she was so dumb that she didn’t realize that she had entered the wrong code on the computer. I looked at the monitor and saw that it was listed as rhubarb. I kindly replied, “Mam, it’s rhubarb. I didn’t get rhubarb.” The bagger kid chimes in and says, “Yeah, I don’t see rhubarb here either.” The clerk appears disoriented as she embarrassingly showed her lack of knowledge for what a rhubarb was either. Finally, I went for it and changed to in-your-face mode. “You charged me for rhubarb instead of rutabaga and I know rutabaga is only $1 something per pound.” (I grabbed 5 pounds of it.) The clerk replied and said, “Sorry, I’ll fix it.” Ahhh, that beautiful five-letter word was all I wanted to hear. Lesson here is: If you don’t want your wallet to be screwed, always be that person who price checks and corrects.
Aside from experiencing inept grocery clerks who can’t identify this root vegetable, rutabagas possess many health benefits to humans. It can improve your digestion, immune system, cholesterol levels and even prevent certain types of cancer. It’s packed with nutrients like iron and calcium as well as vitamins like vitamin C and K to name a few. There are so many more benefits! I won’t go into it’s history because I don’t really know it and you might not even care but the point I’m trying to make is that it’s a healthy vegetable that you need to integrate into your meals.
One delicious way to try rutabagas is to make fries out of them. We all know that regular potato fries aka cancer fries are plain straight up not good for our bodies. A healthy alternative to enjoy the same texture and look of a fry would be the rutabaga. To be straight with you, the taste is slightly different but still darn good. It all depends on how you make it. If you want to up your health game, hit the grocery store and try my recipe below.
- Olive oil
- Black pepper
- Cayenne pepper
- Preheat the oven to 385 degrees.
- Wash and peel the rutabagas.
- Cut the rutabagas to look like regular potato fries.
- Lay the rutabagas evenly out on a baking sheet or on whatever you have that can be put in the oven.
- Dazzle the olive oil, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and thyme over the rutabagas. Be careful as to how much pepper you put. I like mine spicy so I tend to put more. You can use other seasonings and/or spices instead of the ones I use. It’s up to you.
- Grab a serving spoon and mix the rutabagas around so that the seasoning and olive oil hits all areas. When done, lay them evenly on the baking sheet.
- Place the baking sheet in the oven and set time for about 15 minutes.
- When timer sets off, pull the baking sheet out and flip the rutabagas. When done, place back in the oven for about 10 minutes.
- Your rutabaga fries are ready when they’re soft on the inside and slight crispy on the edges. Eat as is or dip them in a sauce you like.