11 Foods You Should Be Eating This February
One of the few good things about February is that it's only 28 days, except when it's not, like this year and every presidential election year ever since Pope Gregory XIII channeled the voice of the Archangel Michael and doomed us all to an extra 24 hours of hell as punishment for our feeble two-party political system. Need to supplement the calendar? Do it in JUNE. There is no God.
This is just one of the crueler aspects of our unforgiving world, but unless you plan on making February the month you experiment with breatharianism, you're still going to have to eat. When you do, consider the following foods, which are ripe and ready to be devoured by the heathens.
Even if your grammy never gave gifts because she was too busy getting raped by Cossacks, you should still eat Kossak kohlrabi, since it's spelled differently. According to seed purveyor Park Seed, "The flesh is white on this giant, with a firm texture and tender succulent flavor. Each mammoth bulb makes several meals!" Giant! Mammoth! Firm! With! What more do you want?
You should chop up this mild, sweeter version of kohlrabi, which tastes kind of like broccoli stalks, and put it on a salad, provided you can figure out a way to handle 8 to 10in of firm, succulent flesh. Like broccoli, it's a brassica, which means it's super healthy.
Orange: inferior as a color and as a fruit. Thankfully, God (remember him/her?!) sent blood oranges to make winter worth slogging through. In addition to their aesthetic advantages, their dark red flesh means they've got plenty of the antioxidant lycopene, and antioxidants are good, QED.
If you need to be told how to eat an orange, come on, get out of here.
Purple top turnips
Like regular old turnips, but with purple tops. No gimmicks here. Turnips are a member of the brassica family, which we've come to know quite well during this interminably long winter that's featured blizzards and temperatures in the 70s Fahrenheit. Soon enough you'll be able to grow a tangerine tree right in your backyard in the dead of December, but until then, try subbing turnips for potatoes in a mash, and you'll wind up with a lighter, healthier version.
They're the go-to simile for excessive procreative activity, so if you eat meat, consider switching out that massive cow for, like, a thousand rabbits (numbers approximate). Seriously, why don't we eat more rabbit? If you're already on board with eating an animal, it makes no goddamn sense to limit it to cows, pigs, chickens, and a bunch of fish. For the love of the planet, go out and make yourself a rabbit cacciatore and experience the pleasures of consuming nonstandard animal protein -- one that's pretty lean and inoffensive, flavor-wise, to boot.
Covington sweet potatoes
Presumably invented by some WASPy New Englander using money from his great-uncle's industrial train lubricant empire, Covington sweet potatoes taste a lot like... sweet potatoes. Anyway, the dominant variety in the US is the Beauregard, a name that suggests the sweet potato industry is actually quite lucrative and shouldn't be meddled with by pesky outsiders like YOU. Stop sniffing around the cutthroat world of sweet potato cultivars!
Savory sweet potato fries! Sometimes I shout things. But when you chop them up with some onions, that sweetness makes a perfect breakfast side dish, and delivers a heaping helping of beta-carotene, which is good.
There's a legend that defenders of Geneva in the Middle Ages kept out attacking hordes of Savoy troops by dumping scalding hot cabbage soup on their heads, prompting them to rename the variety "Savoy" as a taunt that would echo through eternity. That bit of history was plucked out of a half-remembered tour of Geneva, so you can trust that it's 100% accurate.
All sorts of cabbage -- which, surprise, is another brassica -- are in season during the winter, but Savoy is closer to a lettuce, texture-wise, than other varieties, making it more versatile. But do as the Genevese did, and turn it into a soup; maybe even throw it in a borscht, which is either a fancy word or Ukrainian name for "beet soup."
How's this for economy: buy one root, and it'll last you a month, depending on how often you make Bloody Marys on sad Sundays that should be spent writing your novel. Fresh horseradish is a refreshing way to add that nasally wasabi heat to, say, a quick pickle of beets and whatever other root vegetables you have on hand. Stop the presses: horseradish is ALSO A BRASSICA. There's no limit to what those things can do!
Only a fool would call them parsnips. Sure, you're not going to get much of the carotenoids that are present in more brightly colored carrots, but with a smoother taste, they're worth trying out, perhaps roasted with a honey glaze for an elegant dessert when your unsuspecting friends come over for dinner and have to pretend they genuinely enjoy pretty much anything you serve them. Carrots for dessert? Sure!
Garlic greens are almost identical to scapes, albeit with a less sexy name, so no need to go out of your way for the latter if you're trying to replicate that scape butter-topped focaccia crostini your local hipster joint serves. In addition to providing a garlicky kick to any pesto you might make (yeah, yeah, everyone makes scape pesto, whatever), the Russians think garlic greens would be valuable to grow in space thanks to their nutrient density, and if a food is good enough for a cosmonaut, it's damn sure good enough for you.
So cheap, so sustainable, so delicious steamed in a little white wine, garlic (greens?), and thyme, and served with a side of [definitely not a basket of] fries. Mussels offer one of the few examples of humans treating the oceans well, so you can eat hundreds of them without feeling any guilt, unless "indigestion" counts as guilt.
Nachos and beer
Yes, February has one other redeeming quality: the Super Bowl. That glorious Sunday when you can put your brassica to the side, drown yourself in garbage food and all-American beer that's been sold to a foreign corporation, and root for Peyton Manning's neck to fall apart on national TV when he attempts to throw a pass longer than 15 yards. Just a few more weeks until spring arrives.
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Anthony Schneck is the health editor at Thrillist, and even though Cam Newton hasn't played anything like Denver's defense all year, Denver's defense hasn't played anyone like Cam Newton. Follow him: @AnthonySchneck.