The horseradish is a peculiar vegetable. Renowned for its pungent "heat," the root is, in fact, fairly mild in its natural state. But if you grate the horseradish, oils are released that provide the fearsome punch. So in order to distinguish itself from the other members of the mustard family, the horseradish can never be less than grate (sorry). Ah, celebrate the great root all weekend at the Horseradish Festival
in Woodland Park (Vandalia Street and Pine Lake Road, Collinsville, Illinois; www.horseradishfestival.com
). You can throw a horseradish (the Root Toss), race a horseradish (the remote-controlled Root Derby) or just imbibe horseradish (at the bloody mary booth; line forms here). Admission is free, hours are 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday (June 10 and 11), and if it's horseradish-related, it'll be here.
Sat., June 10; Sun., June 11