The Turnip Truck

Turnips are dumb. They’re poor too. Bless their silly, impoverished hearts.

You’ve heard it said before: I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck. It’s a phrase that’s used to indicate that you’re not naive, you’re not ignorant, you’re not a gullible rube riding in the back of the flatbed with a bunch of sad old roots.

Why do turnips get such a bad rap? Maybe it’s because they grow underground, in the dark, sheltered from worldly influences. And turnips aren’t sophisticated like a parsnip or celeriac. They just float around with the fatback in your greens. You won’t find turnip souffle on the menu like you will for it’s kissing cousin the carrot.

Even the word turnip is simple. At least to spell and say. No one ever fell off the rutabaga truck. It’s always a turnip truck.

And you can’t get blood from one. They’re dirt poor. No matter how hard you try, you can’t make them give you something they haven’t got and won’t ever have.

The turnip is, however, a root vegetable that sustains poor country folk through the lean times, which is actually sort of noble if you think about it. Turnips are found on the other end of greens, which are good and good for you, making it a completely useful plant. And this is a versatile root. Boil it, fry it, mash it, roast it — turnips are good no matter what you do to them. Plus, they’re pretty with their purple and white skins.

Sometimes I feel bad for the much-maligned turnip. No matter how hard it tries, it will always be the bumpkin. The bumpkin that can’t pay its bills. But there will always be a place in our world for the turnip because, as the old saying goes, every turnip has its hole.

 

Photo credit: thebittenword.com (https://www.flickr.com/photos/galant/2622027467/) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons