Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Roasted Celery Root (Page 533)

  • Date: Wednesday, January 16, 2008 -- 9pm
  • Location: Bloomington, IN
  • Kitchen: My Apartment
  • Dining Companion: Matty
  • Recipe Rating: D+

In retrospect it is hard to remember why I picked this recipe. I like celery root (aka celeriac) well enough, and I love other roasted root vegetables, so I suppose I figured this would have to be good. As it turns out, I was wrong. I had a whole variety of issues with this recipe. One, there was way too much oil. There was so much that it felt more like deep-frying than roasting. I love oil, but in this case the celery root pieces were sitting in pools of oil. Gross. The recipe also calls for the celery root to be roasted way too long. By the time I checked it, about a half an hour before it was supposed to be done, it was already extremely tender and a little bit shriveled (see picture). My biggest complaints though were about the flavor and texture (two small details!). This preparation of celery root had an incredibly dull flavor. A fine sea salt might have helped, or some extra virgin olive oil rather than the vegetable oil, or some other ingredients besides just oil and salt. It needed help though -- as it was, it was incredibly dull. It was also incredibly mushy. I like mushed up root vegetables (see yesterday's ode to mashed potatoes), but in this case they were extremely mushy little nuggets surrounded by a tough out shell where the surface was essentially fried for quite a long time. Not tasty. Not tasty at all. The thing that made me the most sad about this recipe is that many people out there have potentially never had celery root and could try this recipe as their first celery root experience. Then they would run screaming, and spend the rest of their lives convinced that it is a bad vegetable, and one to be avoided. So I am here to tell you it's not true. It's not a bad vegetable, it's a bad recipe.

Here is the recipe.

It's week three of the semester, and my class is growing on me. I was told heading into the semester, by many people, that this class is not a fun one to teach. I tried to start the term with an open mind, but it was immediately clear to me why people said that. It's a much, much more applied version of calculus than what I taught last term, and for people who spend their lives doing very theoretical math (like me!), teaching the applications without any theory is a bit sad. That said, I am getting used to it. And I am getting to know my 83 students, and liking them more and more each day. There is one problem though: some of them aren't terribly respectful during class. Most of them sit there quietly, taking notes and paying attention. Some even participate when I ask questions. But a few of them just aren't well behaved. They whisper to one another during class, or arrive late, or leave early... This is a new thing for me. A couple of my students last semester whispered at the beginning of the term, but by week three they were attentive and quiet, with no action on my part. It seems that this term it won't be so easy. I'm trying to decide how I want to handle it. A few people have suggested the, "Oh (insert name of whispering student here), do you have a question?" approach. That would probably work, but I worry about that causing the descent of a bad-mood cloud over the entire classroom. I could just stop lecturing until everyone is quiet. I have done that before and it is amazingly effective. People grow extremely uncomfortable with my silence and everyone turns and stares at the offending whisperers. Again, though, I'm not so sure it's great for a positive classroom environment. Confronting people individually after class? Not really my style. I've never actually tried it though, so maybe it's worth a shot... My hope: one day they will wake up and realize that not only is it respectful to quietly pay attention during class, but they will learn better! That may be too much to hope for though...


mike hill said...

Much as I love public humiliation, I agree that it doesn't seem right for this context. I would e-mail the students directly (and individually) and ask that they not talk in class. Then they know that you can hear and are watching them without you basically shaming them in front of everyone.

Teena said...

Yeah, that's a good idea. I should do that. I still haven't dealt with it, but they haven't yet stopped whispering. It will be a goal to deal with it this week!

mish said...

I wish I had checked your comments on this recipe before I made it, not after. I'd never cooked celery root before, and figured it'd be an easy recipe to make while I was busy chopping and cooking other things. By the time I took a look in the oven, the celery root was burned and mushy, just like you described! Awful recipe.

I hope some of the Book's other celery root preparations turn out better.

Teena said...

Yeah, this recipe was phenomenally bad! It makes me shudder just to think about it.