I was shopping in the produce section at the grocery store this week and saw the man next to me taking a photo of a turnip on his iPhone. He looked at me sheepishly and asked if it was a sweet onion. Astonished, I told him it was a turnip and showed him the sweet onions nearby. He pointed to the sign above the turnips that indeed said sweet onions, but I assured him they were mislabeled. He told me he had been texting his wife a photo of the turnips because he didn’t think they looked like onions. How many husbands used to come home with the wrong items before cell phones?
I can’t really criticize him for not recognizing a turnip. When my family moved to Trinidad when I was a teenager, I went to a fresh produce stand and asked the man about the large green husks in a bin. He looked at me as though I was from mars and told me that they were coconuts. I had never seen fresh coconuts before and only knew coconuts to be hairy brown nuts. I could hear him laughing hysterically as I left the shop. Who could blame him, what person from a tropical climate can’t identify a coconut?
I do love trying new foods and new recipes. I think part of the thrill of cooking my way through the Silver Palate is the new ingredients and techniques that I get to try each week. This week I tried yet another of the Silver Palate’s breads for afternoon tea, Grandma Clark’s Soda Bread. It filled the house with a tantalizing aroma and I could not resist trying it hot from the oven. I really like that this soda bread calls for currants, which makes it more of a bread that goes with tea. It is delicious slathered in butter and jam but would also be good without the raisins as a side to chili or stew. It is well worth the few minutes that it takes to put together and the ingredients are sure to be on hand. If I had known making soda bread was so easy and delicious, I would have tried it years ago. Recipe here.