root soup for a tough canadian winter

Deep roots are not reached by frost.  —J.R.R. Tolkien

root vegetable soup | conifères & feuillus

Sunflowers of Hope

in my history books
grade four, maybe five
their skin the colour of copper
their eyes a lot like mine.
secretly, i took solace
in knowing we shared a name
but still i felt shame
in the word indian just the same.
some pointed out i was brown, not red
saying that was better instead
but to me that went to show
they measured us in colours
not what lies below.
later on i came to understand
i married a white man you see
and he told me of the weeds
tangled up in his family tree.
boy, was i angry that night
i was hurt to the core
the words of his grand-père
sprung from the dead
those words, they stung me
cause brown or red
deep down i’m human you see.
i cried and i thought
“how can one buy
into these lies they’re taught?”
i pulled them out by morning
i pulled out those weeds
there’d be no way
my children would learn
like this.
instead i’m growing kindness
and empathy.
rest assured, there’s hope for all
in the seeds i’ve sowed
they’ll grow tall like sunflowers
with deep roots below.

Most days, I’m a proud Canadian. Some days, I’m filled with shame. The story of the Indigenous Peoples living in what we now call Canada has always been particularly heartbreaking to me and at the moment, it’s causing much divide within my country. On a more personal level, shortly after we met, my husband told me of the racist views towards Indigenous communities held by the maternal side of his family. I set out to write about this but I was so distraught that I could only manage short sentences which turned into this poem.

We have two choices, we can teach our children to love or to hate. I choose love. Imagine, now, if we all did.

If you would like to be a good ally to Indigenous Peoples, here is a good place to start.

root vegetable soup | conifères & feuillusroot vegetable soup | conifères & feuillusroot vegetable soup | conifères & feuillus

sunchoke /sənˌCHōk/ {noun}  A species of sunflower native to eastern 
North America, also called Jerusalem artichoke, earth apple, or topinambour.
It is cultivated for its tuber, which is used as a root vegetable.


Root Soup (for a tough Canadian winter)

(serves about 12)

  • 60 g butter
  • 175 g (about 1) onion, coarsely chopped
  • 15 g garlic cloves, sliced
  • 380 g (about 1 bulb) fennel bulb*, chopped
  • 300 g sunchoke, peeled and chopped
  • 300 g (about 1/2) celery root*, peeled and chopped
  • 200 g carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 115 g parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 1650 g (about 7 cups) vegetable stock (or chicken stock if you prefer)
  • 2 tsp salt, more to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. Melt butter in a large casserole (I use my 5.4 L dutch oven pot) over medium heat, be sure not to burn the butter. Add onions and cook about 3 minutes to soften.
  2. Stir in garlic.
  3. Stir in fennel and cook about 5 minutes to soften.
  4. Add sunchoke, celery root, carrots and parsnip along with stock and salt.
  5. Increase to high heat, cover and bring to a boil.
  6. Lower heat just enough and simmer for about 30 minutes until all the vegetables are well softened.
  7. Allow to cool slightly.
  8. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup to achieve a creamy, smooth texture.
  9. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Serve with  a drizzle of cream, or as I have done, oil-fried cumin (tadka).


*technically, not root vegetables!

40 thoughts on “root soup for a tough canadian winter

  1. your poem resonates. one day perhaps we can have a conversation about this over tea—or a bowl of your delicious soup. you may appreciate the artwork featured in my IG stories today; it features the 7 clans of the cherokee nation.

    1. I’m so happy to hear that Kristin! I would love to sit down with you and share thoughts. Unfortunately, I think I missed your stories owing to my tardiness, perhaps you can message it to me on IG? xx

    1. Thank you Ursula, I feel the same way… so much easier to love than build walls and differentiate between “them” and “us”!

  2. Annika, your poem is real, it’s beautiful. I can hear the hurt. Hate in any form is such an awful thing!
    Thanks for sharing your story. Your root soup is a must try. 🙂

    1. These hateful remarks that I have heard throughout my life have certainly left a mark but they won’t change me to become bitter or resentful…. love is always the way. Thank you lovely.

  3. A beautiful post. I’ve always felt such relief that I wasn’t raised with any kind of judgement forced on me, against any kind of human. It’s certainly a happier way to live. I’ve never been able to cook with Jerusalem artichokes, sadly, because I can’t get them where I live. But I know this soup must be outstanding.

    1. Totally agree, it’s most certainly a happier way to live. Although, it will change the flavour, you may replace the sunchoke with another root… sweet potatoes or potatoes or make do with more of the other ingredients.

  4. Lovely pics and lovely post, Annika. Sorry to hear of your negative experience. I think you’re doing the right thing by choosing love over hate and teaching your kids that helps. 🙂

    1. Thank you Rini… we can only learn and become stronger from our negative experiences… the hope is that future generations will be rid of these biases.

  5. Ah your words, how they touch the soul! You are a poet and a master of words, Annika. ‘Most days, I’m a proud Canadian. Some days, I’m filled with shame.’ You carry on the poetry in prose there. xx

      1. I’ll remember that the next time I view your images. 🙂 your colors and depth of field are very well done.

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