Tuesday, 23 December 2008

parsnips - parsley root - hamburg parsley

If you mention the word Petersilienwürzel to most Germans they will say they've never heard of that vegetable and think you are talking about the root of the parsley plant. Translate the word back into English and you get some interesting wrong translations - I'm not a botanist but what is Hamburg parsley?
Anyway last night in Berlin I discovered a synonym for Petersilienwürzel - Patinaken, recognized only because slices of that delicious and noble vegetable the parsnip were served on top of my fettucini. That word on the menu - Patinaken - is closer I suppose the the French for parsnip which is panais. However most French people don't know the delights of this wonderful root vegetable either.
Fortunately the Ferney Voltaire market sells panais - both organic and non-organic - so I'm able to indulge in the delights of the parsnip at home.
There are other root vegetable translation problems la bêterave could be a mangold (bêterave fouragère) or a beetroot (bêterave rouge) - of course bêterave means a root for beasts and you can also get sugar beat, la bêterave à sucre. Meanwhile in the borderland place we live we also hear the word rutabaga but that should actually be used for the swede.
I think it is time the EU began promoting better root vegetable knowledge

1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

and I found out yesterday that there IS a difference between hamburg parsley or parsley root and parsnips. One, the former, has a rounded top and the latter a flat one. The former tastes a bit like celeriac whereas the parsnip has quite a different taste...