The French seem to be a bit picky about vegetables. We fed sweet corn (maize) to our guests at a dinner party a while back, and they were asking "Do people (as well as cows) eat these?". The same goes for parsnips. (French for parsnip: le panais). You can buy them both in the veg section at the supermarket, but still.
I love parsnips. Boiled to soften them and then crisped up in some nice hot, greasy animal fat, they're wonderful. They taste sweeter after they've been frosted, since they make some kind of sweet-tasting anti-freeze. Yum!
Last year I was inspired to grow parsnips by a book "cook your own veg" (as if!) by Carol Klein. Parsnip seeds germinate slowly, so Carol instructed me to "mark the row of parsnip seeds with radishes", without giving me any idea of how I should do this. So I planted the parsnips alongside the same number of radish seeds, and sure enough, there came a nice row of radishes. These were so dense that they suffocated the parsnips. When I got round to pulling them up there were a few straggly parsnip seedlings that I left behind, and to my surprise they grew into a decent row of parsnips.
I have been eating them all Winter, and now they are starting to re-grow. If I leave them be they will just run to seed, so I dug the remaining ones up today. They can stay in the fridge until needed.