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White turnips (Brassica rapa var. rapa) with their purple-rose blush start out much prettier than they end up when peeled and cooked in stews or sautéed in butter. Raw, they also have a mustardy tang that gets lost after heating. This is not at all to disparage the ever-popular turnip, whose swollen taproot has been a standby of the world diet since antiquity. Because of its spiky taste and leafy greens, it was formerly confused with mustard. Indeed, the two plants have related names in Greek (siNAPi and NAPu) and Latin (napus), which are the ancestors of various words in Europe (French navet, Spanish nabo, Italian navone), and in Britain, where neep survives as the ordinary word for turNIP in Scottish and various other dialects. The same root (no pun intended) shows up in parsNIP and most likely in catNIP.

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