I am not a huge fan of summer. It's not just the heat (I am Canadian: my natural state is bundled). It's not just the fact that my children are home, draped all over me, begging to have a playdate/go to Target/see a movie/have a snack/do SOMETHING. (Okay, it's largely that.) It's not just the hudity. It's not just the mosquitoes. It's not even the fact that this summer, we will be moving to a smaller house with a lot more land, meaning that I'll spend two months wandering around in a daze, unsure where to find my oven mitts or computer cords or, probably, the children.
No, as if those weren't enough reasons to have summer condemned as a season, there's the fact that cooking in summer sucks. You can grill something or you can overheat your kitchen. Yeah. The choices are overwhelming.
Cooking in winter, though ... ah, that's a different story. It's a treat to preheat the oven when it's snowing outside. It's a joy to make roasts and stews and hearty soups when you know you'll be eating them after fighting a bitter wind chill. It's fun to spend snow days making cookies and memories, baking bread and mulling cider and then spiking it when the kids aren't looking because seriously, after the third snow day in a row, that's the only way you're going to survive.
Not that I would ever do that.
One of my favorite winter foods is roasted vegetables. I can and do grill them, but there's nothing like a
Parsnips have a bad reputation, and I'm not sure why. Maybe because folks look at them and think they should taste like a carrot. (A logical assumption.) Maybe because, when they're not cooked right, they have a peppery bite that some folks find off-putting.
|Roassted vegetables and polenta. Because YUM.|
Which brings us to the characters in our stories.
At the beginning of a book, a character is like a raw parsnip: a little odd, a little bitter, a little stiff. Then the story begins. Other characters are mixed with our little parsnip, seasoning and spicing him or her. (You can make your own call about how and where the olive oil fits into this analogy.) We take these characters, already changed because of who they're dealing with, and we throw them into the plot oven. We hold them to the fire. We keep them in there, making things hotter and more overwhelming, until our little Snip is on the edge of burning out.
But then ... then, Snippy makes it out of the heat. And just like the humble root for which she is named, our gal Snip has become her best self. She's been transformed by the people and events of the story. She's still the same person ... and yet she's not. She is changed. She is sweeter. She is the best danged vegetable she could ever be.
She is a Parsnip.
(Many thanks to the amazing Sally MacKenzie, who answered my call for a blog topic with one word: parsnips.)