Well, well, well. We meet again. In your continued effort to support a healthy environment and lifestyle, you received a box of locally sourced fruits and vegetables delivered right to your doorstep. And unfortunately for you, that box includes me, a bulbous root thingy that you and the neighbor with nine herb plants on her windowsill will have never seen before.
Last week, I was Kohlrabi. The week before, Chinese Artichokes. And this week? Well, you’ll just have to not find out.
It’s the best part of my job, watching you unbox all of the other predictable produce, knowing I lurk beneath. You pick up a handful of parsley. Getting closer. A few potatoes. Nearly there. And just when you think you're safe as you grab what appears to be the final item in your box—a batch of broccolini that frankly could not be any more overrated—there I am, nestled in the corner.
I wish you could see how stupid you look right now. Eyeing me like a curious toddler. Sniffing me like a confused caveman.
You scramble for your phone to Google what to do with me. My friend, you don’t even know what I am, how are you supposed to know how to cook me! But there you are, six paragraphs deep into how Sydnie from Flagstaff fell in love with a recipe for vegan potato gratin. Hey bozo, see that list of ingredients? I’m not on it.
You FaceTime your mom and wonder if I might be Jicama. She shoots you down and claims I’m a Golden Beet. Your dad pops his head in and suggests I could be some sort of fancy potato. Your mom grabs the phone back to ask if you’ll be cooking me for Ashley, then probes you for 17 more minutes about when you are going to propose to Ashley. Yes, yes.
With an impressive false confidence, you grab an old peeler as if my hardened skin didn’t just easily withstand six cold months underground with hungry earthworms. It took you only three peel attempts (my guess was five) before slicing your left thumb and scurrying to the bathroom for a band-aid you don’t own. Off to Walgreen’s you go.
Back home, you wipe the sweat off your brow and remember that it’s date night. And your turn to cook. You have 14 pounds of farm-fresh vegetables spread on your countertop, and nothing prepared. But what you are really worried about is me. Not knowing the identity of an obscure root vegetable in front of your girlfriend is just not an outcome you are willing to accept.
Ashley arrives home, so you hide me in the fruit bowl and try to think of a diversion tactic. Your offer to quickly whip up the parsley into some sort of new-age pesto could not be any more pathetic, so you end up ordering takeout from a new Taiwanese spot. It costs three times as much as your delivery box. I continue to be amused.
Day by day, the fruit bowl dwindles. The potatoes and apples and grapefruits that once hid me from you are long gone. You’ve spent the entire week passing me by like a shamed ex, trying not to look. But in the morning, another box will arrive. Your window to clarity and a healthy, home-cooked meal is closing. It’s time.
With the poise of a dollar store Patrick Bateman, you grab a knife and make your move. You slam me on the cutting board, and in one fell swoop, slice open an even bigger mystery.
I taste like nothing. I smell like nothing. I look like nothing. Or everything. You eat me anyway. If I’m not going to give you any clues, the least I can do is give you a little fiber.
Feeling defeated, you concede this round and head upstairs for the night.
With a mind full of questions. And a belly full of Jicama.