salt and black pepper
heavy whipping cream
Gently but thoroughly scrub the turnips under cold running water.
Trim off the root ends and the green tops.
Young turnips do not need to be peeled, but they may be peeled.
Cut turnips into slices a little thicker than a quarter of an inch, set aside.
Rinse the salt pork and put it in a 3-quart soup kettle with the Turn heat to medium-low and bring the water slowly to just below the boiling point carefully skimming off the scum as it rises. Lower the heat to a bare simmer and cook the pork gently for about an hour. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the sliced turnips. Let the liquid come back to a boil, skim it again and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer until the turnips are tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. Discard the pork and skim off any excess fat floating on top of the broth. Remove turnips with a slotted spoon. Cut a cup of them into cubes and rub the remainder through a colander or food mill. Add both of them back to the broth. Let the soup come back to a simmer, taste, correct the salt and add a liberal grinding of black pepper. Take the cornmeal or polenta meal in your hand, and stirring the soup constantly, let the meal fall into the soup in a thin stream between your fingers. Never stop stirring or the meal will lump up. Let simmer, stirring constantly, until thickened. Leave it to simmer for about five minutes more, then if you like, stir in the optional cream. Heat through about two minutes more, then serve at once.