Suzanne Podhaizer obviously isn’t an aficionado of parsnips [“Beet the System,” December 3]. I discovered them only about a year or so ago, and they are one of my favorite vegetables now. Root candy. They do not, however, need to be peeled to be eaten. (I actually like them sliced thin in a salad, too.)
My favorite recipe is very simple:
Cut parsnips into 1 to 1 1/2-inch chunks (shorter at the thicker end of the root, longer at the tip) and parboil in salted water for 10 minutes. Toss with olive oil and roast — cut side down, if possible — at 350 to 375 degrees for 30 minutes until they are golden brown and as sweet as candy. Salt lightly and enjoy.
You can prepare brussels sprouts the same way, but cut them in half lengthwise after parboiling. Toss in oil and arrange cut side down. They come out creamy, crunchy and sweet — barely recognizable as the horrible boiled things I was fed as a child.
Thanks to Seven Days for sponsoring the Democrat-Progressive forum [on December 4 at Main Street Landing Performing Arts Center]. It’s nice to see that the publication that has historically pooh-poohed Progressive candidacies while supporting Democrats can at least acknowledge the Progs’ right to exist!
We need a third, noncorporate party in Vermont. Even if the Democrats are being “pulled to the left” by the sheer presence of the Progressive Party, we should not be fooled into thinking that is a permanent state of affairs. The Democratic Party has shown again and again on the national level that it needs influence from the left to remain even marginally relevant to its constituency — or at least the “working class” constituency to which it kowtows during its election campaigns.
Take the Democrats’ most recent national success: The election of Barack Obama is a clear-cut example of a political centrist successfully absconding with “liberal” votes (not to mention hundreds of millions in campaign donations). He said all the right things, but his cabinet appointments are shaping up to be “meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”
We’ll never get actual change unless we make change, and the Democrats are the status quo. We could have had change in Vermont, too, if the Democrats had realized they didn’t have a candidate who could compete, and who, in fact, made the Democrats the spoiler in Vermont in 2008.
ALL IN THE FAMILY
The sarcasm was dripping in Shay Totten’s take on Ed Adrian’s decision to back out of Burlington’s mayoral race [“Fair Game,” November 19] in part because he wants to put his young family first. “The old spending-more-time-with-the-family bit. Always loved that one,” he wrote, and I was stunned. If Adrian were the mother of a kindergartener and a preschooler instead of the father, in addition to being a practicing lawyer and an active member of the city council, would it have occurred to Totten to make fun of the decision?
One of the many things I loved about the Obama campaign was their honesty about how tough it was to parent and run a national campaign, their honesty about the sacrifices made and priorities maintained. One of the many things I hated about the Palin nomination was the mythology constructed around her: that somehow she could be a hockey mom, govern a state, and run for vice president. “I didn’t even blink,” she said in an interview. Didn’t even blink? With a special-needs infant, a pregnant teenager, a son on his way to Iraq and two in the middle easily forgotten? I’m not judging whether or not she should have accepted the nomination, but blinking is critical. Blinking suggests wisdom and caring along with an ability to think realistically about the bigger picture, about the impact of your decisions on those who depend on you. Hopefully Ed Adrian blinked and realized what it has taken me several years to realize: You can do it all, just not all at once. I am impressed with his ability to assess his family’s and the community’s needs and to remove his ego from the mayoral equation. There is nothing more important than time with his family and building bridges where they are structurally unsound.