The kohlrabi is a weird vegetable. It looks weird, it grows in a weird way, and it’s a weird plant to cook.
Google “what is kohlrabi” and just about everyone describes it as “alien.” There it is, sticking up out of the ground, thrusting it’s long-stemmed leaves every which way, looking both disheveled and insistent, like, “I’m here! I’m here! I dunno why I’m here or what I’m supposed to do, but I’m here!”
The kohlrabi is not immediately lovable. It takes some muscle power to peel and chop, some taste-testing to decide if it can be raw, if it needs heat, if it should be roasted or shredded. You kind of have to wrangle your way through its leaves.
A carrot, on the other hand, is easy to love. It’s familiar and sweet. It has an adorable unruly bundle of greens on top, pretty orange, red, or yellow flesh beneath. It narrows into a little coil of root, adding flashes of vibrancy to whatever dish it’s in.
And yet, I’m drawn to the kohlrabi. It’s so fully itself even though it doesn’t fit in with any other vegetable. It’s a symbol of unconditional acceptance—of yourself, of others. Hopefully everyone has at least one friend like this—the friend who loves you exactly as you are, no matter how complex or contradictory.
Or, maybe the kohlrabi is telling us what kind of friend to be. To be the friend who shows up exactly as she is, no apologies for her wild hair or loud laugh. The friend that loves you even when she doesn’t understand you.
Maybe I put too much on the kohlrabi’s non-existent shoulders, but I don’t think so. It’s not just another vegetable. It’s the oddball who knows it’s odd and loves itself anyway.
After a few attempts at converting kohlrabi into a meal, I’ve found myself boasting about my recipes, feeling proud of my familiarity with this vegetable, like I’m an insider for once. But I’ve also found myself appreciating my oddball traits, accepting them rather than masking them.
Anyway, I guess my point is this: eat kohlrabi. It’s good for you. It’s fun and unusual. Be the kohlrabi: own your oddness, appreciate it in others. Stop trying so hard to be the carrot.