Medieval Cooking with Children: Armored Turnips

Join us in this installment of Medieval Cooking with Kids as I, The Turnip of Terror, and my Little Turnip assistant make a medieval recipe for armored turnips.

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Halloween, Turnip Style

When one thinks about Halloween generally they think about candy, kids in costumes (or adults in delightfully inappropriate costumes), spooky decorations, haunted houses, witches and bubbling brew… and jack-o’-lanterns. Most try to look scary, many turn out looking cute and goofy, but the smell of pumpkin guts and the unique squishy feeling of that stringy, seedy stuff are inexorably entwined with my memories of Halloween. I don’t think I’m alone. However, there’s something else that should immediately come to mind when you’re thinking about your next carved Halloween decoration…

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So… A Turnip?

The question invariably arises about my choice of heraldry, and I’m okay with that. Using obscure images in your arms is a great way to be immediately and unmistakably memorable. The world of real and reconstructionist heraldry is awash in the “cool kid” charges. The flags that flutter across the fields of SCA and reenacting scenes have a surfeit of lozenges and chevrons, dragons and lions, castles and weapons. In contrast to all that, it’s hard not to notice a turnip, and to know exactly who it is bearing that charge. From a heraldic point of view… that’s kind of the exact point.

As clever as that makes me sound, I didn’t choose the turnip simply for its shock value. Among its virtues were the turnip’s inherent ties to medieval culture as an agricultural staple of pre-colonial Europe. It was an integral component to the progression of human civilization. For my part, being a poor artist, they’re relatively easy to draw when I want to put my mark on things. I can document their use in heraldry which tickles the inner history nerd. But, bottom line, as uninspiring as it sounds, I really just like turnips. And, there’s something naturally funny about a turnip.

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