Eat Your Veggies


I’ve been a vegetarian for close to 5 years and the only difference I’ve made to my diet is an increase in macaroni and cheese and apple sauce (I refuse to admit apple sauce isn’t a vegetable!!). When people ask me vegetarian-specific questions about protein and fiber and “Well, where do you get your iron?” I stare at them, tears in my eyes, screaming, “Where do you get YOUR iron, buddy!” and run away.

I do most of my grocery shopping at Target. Unfortunately, this means most of my vegetables are grown on the magical, Market Pantry, frozen foods farm. You know the one. It’s the farm where ‘Vegetable Medley’ means, drumroll: Frozen peas and carrots! This has to end!

My plan is to eat and prepare new vegetables as much as I can, so that by 2016, the Market Pantry items in my freezer will be more ice cream sandwich-ey and less broccoli floret-ey. First up – parsnips!!


I started with parsnips because I knew I wanted to start with a root vegetable. Root vegetables aren’t exotic but there’s still a sexiness about them. They’re a familiar shape, they feel safe. Start with what you know, folks. I was very surprised when they rang up $.66 for three. They look like something a hipster bunny would enjoy! And the store was selling Chapstick for $4.00! Say whaaaat?

I found a recipe for Butter Fried Parsnips because what better way to experiment with healthy eating than butter? The recipe asks you to peel and quarter the parsnips lengthwise which I immediately found too frustrating. I ended up slice the parsnips into chip-like discs.


I’m no good with the knife so don’t be surprised if by the end of 2015 I make every vegetable into some sort of chip.

Next came the buttering of the parsnips.


I wasn’t excited when I had to dip each boiled parsnip into melted butter. I love butter and what it stands for (Delicious food!), but melted butter is ga-ross. It reminds me of the episode of Friends when everyone drinks the fat.  I also don’t think I melted enough because I was having trouble covering each piece.

Once each parsnip was (partially) buttered, it was time to season those pitches (parsnips + bitches = pitches). The recipe called for putting each buttered parsnip into a baggy filled with flour and spices and shaking them to coat. Baggies and butter? I had no patience for this. I decided to put the flour mixture on a plate and coat them individually. This took way more time than expected and didn’t even work that well, proving I should probably start following recipes correctly.

Finally, I got to cooking the partially-buttered, partially-seasoned parsnips.


They actually look pretty good in this picture, right? But this is after almost 20 minutes on each side cooking. I watched two episodes of Friends while these things cooked. Could it BE any longer??

Total time for this recipe was supposed to be 30 minutes. It took me 90. This is nothing new. It takes me 3x the amount of time and counter space to do anything. AND I MEAN ANYTHING. I was so exhausted, I didn’t even bother making a main dish. I ended up having my parsnips with my go-to, side-side dish, yep you guessed it – apple sauce!


Well, what did I think? I liked them! There were mistakes I made that with some patience, probably would have made them taste better, but overall my parsnip chips were fairly tasty.  Even before I added a gallon of salt.

Hey! I’m one step closer to being a more believable vegetarian!! Where will this vegetable experiment take me next??

Carolyn Busa