Our ground is clay (or something similar).
When it's wet it's slippery, thick mud that sticks to your shoes, making one's shoe size grow from a '7' to an '11' in about 5 steps.
When it's dry it cracks. In summer our field has cracks deep enough and wide enough to swallow a small animal.
In the potager, after it's tilled in the spring, if I faithfully hoe every week, I can keep the top soil workable and free of weeds.
But I can't grow root vegetables.
I tried growing carrots a few times…. They were 3 inches wide and 2 inches long, with skinny little hair-like roots growing out of the sides and bottom like errant chin-hairs.
They were ugly.
My neighbor tells me that he has successfully grown parsnips, but to do it he dug a deep trench and filled it with sand.
Why am I telling you this now? At the end of November?
One of the women in our French conversation class gave me some parsnips.
They were a little longer than the carrots I attempted, but not nearly as long as the pretty parsnips at the markets.
I, foolishly, did not take a photo of them before cleaning and cutting….
Parsnips were not part of my childhood. I'd never actually tasted one until a few years ago when our friend in Spain put them in the Boar Stew.
Since then I've had them a few more times, fixed by British friends, normally either steamed or cooked in the roasting pan with a turkey or goose.
But I've never prepared them myself.
In my usual fashion…. It was late, I was in a hurry, they were difficult to peel (being kind of gnarly…. I tossed them with some olive oil and popped them in the oven, 400F (200C) for 30 minutes.
I was amazed!
They were incredibly sweet and delicious… crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.
They reminded me of toasted marshmallows – and kind of resembled them as well.
I am now hooked on parsnips.
Mon mari is back to work.
The closets are finished – on the inside, anyway. And of course, stuff put in them to get out of the way.