Weird Veggie Encounters

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The last couple of times I’ve visited my local grocery store, I’ve had some strange interactions. Why? It’s all because of the weird-ass-veggies that I’ve excitedly placed into my shopping cart.

First, I picked up some fiddleheads; these little buggers are extremely seasonal, and they represent a bit of a relic of my childhood. These are the tippity-tops of ferns, and they’re only edible in this early stage, and when appropriately cooked, or else they can make you sick. When I was a kid, my sister and I used to go into our woods and pick these guys. They’re rare and fleeting, so we’d sell them at our local farmer’s market for jacked-up prices. Supply and demand, baby, we were smart little entrepreneurs.

I explained all of this to the woman checking me out at the market, who had no earthly idea what these little curly-ques could be, and why a person would buy them.

I brought them home and blanched them, then sautéed them in a pan with a ton of butter. Damn good.

The very next night, I visited the same grocery store. I had spotted some sunchokes that I planned to roast with some olive oil, thyme, salt, pepper, and aged balsamic. I grabbed a handful of the nubby root veggies and took them to the checkout. It was a different worker, and he said to me “You know those aren’t ginger, right?”

“Yeah,” I responded. “They’re sunchokes, also called Jerusalem artichokes,” I told him. He asked me what they tasted like, and I said they were kind of a combination between parsnips and artichoke hearts. He thanked me for explaining, and wished me a happy dinner.

One thing’s for sure, without my in-depth food knowledge (and willingness to spew it at anybody who will listen), this grocery store would be screwed.