November 5, 2008

Fearsome and Unnatural Parsnips

Filed under: food,literature — origamifreak @ 6:54 pm
Tags: , , ,

I just picked up the week’s vegetables, and after a discussion over at Dark Side of the Fridge about the relative scariness of parsnips versus celeriac, I decided to pick some up to illustrate why celeriac just looks so much tamer, when it comes to my own vegetable choices… 🙂

I submit to you Exhibit A, in which you can see both the parsnips and the celeriac I picked up today:


They’re very fresh, and I’m sure they will taste just delicious. However, the parsnips do fairly resemble something HP Lovecraft would invent!

In fact, here in Exhibit B, is something HP Lovecraft did invent:


And here is his description of it:

“If I say that my somewhat extravagant imagination yielded simultaneous pictures of an octopus, a dragon, and a human caricature, I shall not be unfaithful to the spirit of the thing. A pulpy, tentacled head surmounted a grotesque and scaly body with rudimentary wings… It represented a monster of vaguely anthropoid outline, but with an octopus-like head whose face was a mass of feelers, a scaly, rubbery-looking body, prodigious claws on hind and fore feet, and long, narrow wings behind. This thing, which seemed instinct with a fearsome and unnatural malignancy, was of a somewhat bloated corpulence…” (“The Call of Cthulhu”)

A little more Googling reveals that Lovecraft was none too fond of parsnips:

Of other vegetables I like peas & onions, can tolerate cabbage & turnips, am neutral toward cauliflower, have no deep enmity toward carrots, prefer to dodge parsnips & asparagus, shun string beans & brussel sprouts & abominate spinach. I like rhubarb—& am also really fond of baked beans prepared in the ancient New England way…” (to J. Vernon Shea, 30 October 1931)

Perhaps we now know why!

By the way, I’m not the only one who has noticed this resemblance:

…and so forth. Although I think my CSA parsnips are way scarier than that tame wimpy British one.

Just sayin’.



  1. Yes, those are some ugly veggies! 😆 Remind me of the carrots we used to (try to) grow in the Milwaukee clay when I was a kid. . . mine were much smaller and, erm, far more civilized looking. 😉

    Comment by Toy Lady — November 5, 2008 @ 7:25 pm | Reply

  2. Aw Heck, TL, those aren’t parsnips; they’re just white carrots!

    Our CSA farmer said he grew his (normal looking) carrots in the same soil. (However he next conceded that perhaps he hadn’t worked the parsnip section quite well enough…)

    Comment by origamifreak — November 5, 2008 @ 7:46 pm | Reply

  3. […] origamifreak @ 1:55 pm Tags: celeriac, fond blanc, mirepoix, onion, parsnips, pork loin end The two parsnips on the left and all three of the celeriac, plus 4 onions from the CSA are now chopped up into little pieces and simmering in a pot with a […]

    Pingback by Parsnip Update « Manifolds — November 9, 2008 @ 1:55 pm | Reply

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