I Sing the Rutabaga Electric

In deep winter, preserving your lifeforce to maximize health and well being becomes increasingly important. This is a somewhat “tongue-in-cheek” follow up to Winterize Yourself!

More seasonal guidelines for conserving the ojas ( male lifeforce) can be viewed at
Emission Control, The Seasons

The premise here is that following macrobiotic guidelines would indicate that the winter is the time to consume the denser Chi of root foods such as tubers.

My apologies in advance to those with unremittingly serious demeanors…..

I Sing the Rutabaga Electric

“Lonely at home
Call any vegetable
And the chances are good
That a vegetable will respond to you…
Rutabaga, rutabaga, rutabaga, rutabaga…”

— Frank Zappa – Call Any Vegetable

Genetically Caught between its sulphurous cousin the cabbage, and its distant white trash relatives the turnip family, the hottie half-breed rutabaga is secretly a beet wannabe.

A beet with an attitude.

Somewhere between ruddy and rutty, slightly spicy, but not as hot and tarted up as a radish, this impudent little tuber wants to warm your cockles this winter, if you will only give her a chance.

Ms. Ruta Baga is full of both staunch New England fiber and the sultry heat of the South. She is voluptuous with nutrients such as Calcium, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Pantothenic Acid Phosphorous, Potassium, Selenium, Zinc, Vitamin A, B ,C, E, and folic acid.

The lovely Ms. Baga

The lovely Ms. Baga

Ruta is rarely prominent on the supermarket’s fluorescent-lit stage. The fruit and vegetable managers, downscale produce pimps that they are, often try to conceal the lovely Rutabaga. They tend to keep her in the dark like a bad mushroom, as if she were a Plain Jane sister that they want to hide from their school buddies. Sometimes they call her (Mellow?) Yellow Turnip, thinking you won’t recognize her brazen sensuality (though they secretly adore her and expend considerable effort to apply wax to keep her skin fresh, moist, and soft. I suspect the waxing is partly Brazilian. )

All this ambivalence, shame, and negativity has made her a little shy. Track her down and you might find that, like an old high school sweetheart, she has really blossomed, matured, and is eager to please. Be bold; ask for her by name.

Rutabagas can be roasted, boiled, steamed, stir-fried, mashed, or stewed. Mash or roast them with potatoes. Stick ’em in stews and soups. Stir-fry with onions or other vegetables, you can even French fry them. My favorite is the simplest:

Zen Rutabagas, or “Chop Bagas, Carry Water…”

1. Cut up some rutabagas and boil until soft. (They really do coat the root in wax, so you have to peel them)
2. Mash them with some salt and butter; add a little pepper if you like.
3. Eat with gusto.

You can spice them up with some onions, or put them in a pan, top with cheese and / or bread crumbs, and bake yourself a little casserole.

Being a little timid, even embarrassed by her humble roots, Ruta Baga has hired some PR and personal image consultants to improve her public acceptance. Here is some of their work:
© 2006 Keith E. Hall. all rights resverved.

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