whole food ~ well made

What’s in Your Root Cellar Just Waiting to Become Dinner?

FIFO (“first in first out,” and pronounced like a dog’s name) is a term used in the food industry.

Basically, it means use up the old yogurt {substitute: onions, beef, eggs, rice, lettuce, you name it} before you open a new one.

It’s a good practice to institute at home as well. Think about how many scary and smelly moments could be avoided from what lurks in the dark depths of the fridge. With FIFO, the risks are dramatically reduced because you’re constantly searching for what needs to be used up.

That principle actually inspires many of my best ideas. Right now, I’m planning a meal to use up the last tablespoon in a jar of harissa.

The root cellar is a different story. All the potatoes, squash, onions, shallots and garlic went in at the same time but they rot at varying rates.

Root Cellar Rotation

During the fall, as you rotate through the stock, you find a few for the compost bin. But for the most part these vegetables wait their turn.

Then February comes and you have to hurry up and use them up–and quick. With the earth beginning it’s slow tilt back toward the sun and the seed catalogues coming two per day in the mail, it’s high time to purge it all through diligent cooking.

Happily, that fits in very nicely with my ideal of the simple Sunday Supper: put it all in the oven and leave it be.

This week, I noticed how the potatoes and the alliums are already sprouting. Signs of higher intelligence? Well, somewhere in their genes, they know that spring is coming.

Let’s put them in the oven to bake in a bath of garlic cream sauce and relish the moment.


and become a forager


Potatoes Baked in Garlic Cream

Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Author: Lynne Curry

This baked dish is a nice partner for roast chicken, but I like to serve it on its own in deep bowls with a tossed green salad on the side. Alternately, you can puree it all together (along with the garlic) using a food mill or potato ricer for some righteous mashed potatoes. Or, use this garlicky cream for baking other vegetables, like cauliflower, carrots or winter squash. 


  • 20 cloves garlic
  • 1 pint heavy cream pastured
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 pounds small potatoes
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 4 shallots, cut in half
  • 1 bay leaf


  1. Peel the garlic and split it in half from root to stem and pull out the bitter green shoot (if it has one). Heat the cream in a small saucepan and add the garlic. 

  2. Simmer for 10 minutes, cover and remove from the heat to steep for 20 minutes more. Strain the garlic out and season the cream generously with salt and pepper. Taste: it should taste like sea water.

  3. Peel the thick skins from the potatoes and cut out any eyes or green tinge. Cut them in half if larger than a bar of soap. Lay them in a single layer in a baking dish, distribute the onions and shallots and add the bay leaf.

  4. Pour over the cream, stir and bake the potatoes in a 350 degree oven, turning them occasionally, until fork tender, about 45 minutes.

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