Friday, February 10, 2023

Big and Bold...


Today I'm writing about a vegetable, of all things... with poetry included. Come along if you dare.

Confession: I've become somewhat smitten with rutabagas.  I know... what a world!?!

What is a rutabaga?  A root vegetable that is an unlikely cross between cabbage and turnip.

Purple turnip on the left is NOT a rutabaga, golden rutabaga is on the right.

Rutabagas are sometimes called swedes because they originated in Sweden and are popular in Scandinavia. Maybe because of our scandinavian background, or maybe because I like vegetables in general, every once in a while I give rutabagas a try.

Reactions to a Rutabaga

You need a huge strong knife

to cleave this brute in two

hard work!

peel and dice

cook until tender


extra texture

mellow cabbage flavor

a bright star in your stew

--draft, Karen Eastlund

All this rutabaga talk because recently I came across this poem about rutabagas and if felt perfect. Here are a few lines with the link to the entire poem below:

Rutabagas: A Love Poem 
by James Silas Rogers


Rutabagas were on the table.
I had to ask Jean what they were.
My first mouthful tasted
like something in a gunny sack; 


She said she loved their dug-up texture
the hint of dirt
that couldn't be washed away,
how they left the tongue
with a rumor of something
underground and dark.


Read the entire poem HERE.

Okay, so Rogers doesn't exactly endorse them, but I love his description. I had to savor that if nothing else.

I find rutabagas easy on the pocketbook and heavy in the grocery bag. And, it turns out they're very good for you!  If you decide to try them, let me know!

As an aside, Carl Sandburg wrote Rootabaga Stories for children. I'm going to get them from my library. 

What the heck... I'm on a roll with rootabagas!!!

Whew! I'm done with vegetable talk. Heave a sigh of relief! Have a laugh and a good week!  

It is Poetry Friday, and you can find the whole gang at Carol Varsalona's.  Don't miss her stunning collection of poetry postcards!


  1. Love that you called them a 'bright star', Karen, & juxtaposition of those words in the other poem about the 'rumor of something underground and dark'. I don't think I've ever had one, certainly not in recent years, but perhaps at a grandmother's table? Thanks for the smile!

  2. Karen, you provided me with a rooted surprise. I never tried your bright star vegetable but it is intriguing. The poem and audio story were fun to read. I bet my grandgirls would enjoy the story if they sit long enough. They like to look at the illustrations. I feel very homey listening to the tale. When you make your stew send us a picture and maybe a poem.

  3. 'to cleave this brute in two' - I get the picture! And the taste, in the poem by James Silas Rogers. Great pairing.

  4. What a fun post, Karen!! I admit I've never eaten rutabagas but am now very curious to try. I do like some turnips and cabbage and parsnips (but I'm guessing rutabagas aren't as sweet as parsnips?). Enjoyed your poem as well as Rogers's. :). ~ Jama

  5. I may have childhood memories of rutabagas because I actually wrote one into a picture book manuscript about a rabbit needing to chose different vegetables for the stew she's making! Thanks for the fun post, Karen.

  6. Rutabagas remind me of broccoli stalks -- the best part of broccoli imho!

  7. My family was discussing -- just the other night! -- the difference between a turnip, a parsnip, and a rutabaga. We love root vegetable stews this time of year.

  8. Wow. "how they left the tongue
    with a rumor of something
    underground and dark." I'm not sure I've ever tried rutabaga, and from the description, I'm a bit scared. But more intrigued than I've ever been before about rutabagas. The power of poetry!

  9. I don't think I've ever tried a rutabaga, but you just might inspire me.

  10. Gosh, I don't think I've tasted a rutabaga; not even sure about a turnip. I think beets are about as brave as I've been. Who knows what my tongue has missed?

  11. "A bright star in your stew" made me laugh. Every vegetable deserves its own poem. :D