Truly, root veggies are the essence of comfort food. And perhaps that’s why we have grown too casual with them—relegated many of them to bland, secondary roles in our cuisine—if we remember to eat them at all. What a shame. Under the skin of every root vegetable lurks an exotic ingredient. The very fiber of civilization, root veggies hail from the furthest reaches of history and the world—the Middle East, the Roman Empire, pre-Columbian South America. Root veggies lend kick (think ginger, garlic and horseradish), color (beet-red and carrot-orange) and nutrition (they’re loaded with Vitamin A and potassium) to Grandma’s classics and inspired modern dishes. So head to the cellar or market and pull out your paring knife. These four recipes will send you back to your roots.