PLAYING WITH A TURNIP
Since getting a digital camera some years ago, sometimes getting a meal can take a long, but pleasant, time!
(I have to have my play-place, and my pastime!)
1. Wash turnip.
2. Listen to the slurp slurp of fresh, flowing tap water. Be mindful of the roundy feel, and the weight, of a turnip. Count up all those who bring us that turnip: the farmer or gardener, the harvester, the truck drivers, the warehouse personnel, the grocery store clerks.
3. Thank God for the availability of food, and for the nutrition in healthy food that fuels our bodies. Thank Him for convenient kitchens. Thank him for turnips that can be cooked without seasoning and then go with just about any dish’s seasoning. Thank God for not having to go hungry.
4. Get out cutting board and knife. Chop turnip into wedges. If center crown is interesting, cut the wedges in a pattern which saves the top features -- in a square, or a triangle, perhaps. Slice the top from the rest of the wedge.
5. Enjoy the purple tinges of the skin. Think about the contrast between the white flesh and the purple (lilac?) skin. Listen to the thump thump of the knife as it cuts the turnip. See – really see – the neat wedges (their shapes, sizes, the way they topple to the cutting board.)
6. Thank God for good ears to hear that knife snick snicking, and eyes that love beauty-things – yes, even turnips! Maybe sing paeons of praise to Our Creator for knives and utensils and cutting boards and countertops, and other useful things.
7. Arrange wedges artistically. Lay the cut-off top on an interesting surface. Photograph the wedges, then the top. Build a memory of beauty-making.
8. Cut wedges into slices. See how the purple tones (lilac?) become rich patterns. Revel in the way the slices fall to the cutting board in a different mannerr than the wedges did.
9. Be the artist arranging the slices to have their picture(s) taken. More memories of an indulgent time, captured!
10. Peel the slices. Notice that the colors are gradiated. Marvel at the sight of peelings falling to the cutting board in arched curves. Explore in mind the way the parings separate from the whitey flesh.
11. Thank the good Lord for memories in the making. Thank Him for hands that do as you command them. Thank Him for having the time to notice the interesting feel of a knife in hand as it skillfully carves off the parings. Offer praises to Him for those graceful arcs lying on the board.
12. Arrange the peelings in quirky or interesting designs. Be the little child for a moment. Photograph those foodly scribbles. Don’t forget to memorize the patterns.
13. Dice the peeled slices. Scrape them off the cutting board onto a plate, or directly into a microwave-safe bowl. Or maybe, if there’s time, transfer them from one plate or bowl to another, just to see the emphasis made by differently colored dishes. What do you see? Aren’t there clever shadows around some of the little cubes? How do the fleshy-whites either contrast with colors, or emboss white-on-white? Is imagination strong enough to behold little building blocks, or strange-ish sugar cubes, or at least some interesting layouts or textures? Concentrate on the feel of a knife-wielding hand dicing the flesh. Ponder how hefting the bowl makes wrist and hand muscles contract with strength, to bear the weight.
14. Thank the Heavenly Father for everything seen, felt, and thought about this step.
15. Photograph the bowl(s) of diced turnip. Add the picures to a scrapbook-in-mind.
16. Add some water to the bowl. Lay a plate loosely over bowl, leaving a steam hole. Microwave until turnip pieces are tender.
17. I’ll let you decide how the cooked turnip will become part of your meal. (Some of the ways I serve boiled turnip: 1. As a separate vegetable, with cinnamon, ginger, and melted low-cal imitation butter. 2. Stir into non-fat yogurt flavored with Splenda artificial sugar and a little vanilla – on a bagel spread with peanut butter. 3. Add more volume and nutrition to a pizza or spaghetti. 4. Make the turnip part of a chicken and vegetable dish with classic oriental sauce.
18. Oh yes, and thank God for the ability to fix an interesting and creative supper! And don’t forget to appreciate the way it’s possible to worship the Maker of the Universe (and of turnips) while playing with food – er, preparing a meal!
This post is also shared with "Seedlings in Stone" and "The Wellspring"