Let me introduce the Lotus Root
It's an ugly thing. You first peel it like you would a carrot or potato
Then you slice it. Which is hard. The root is almost like balsa wood
Then you boil it, like you would a potato, which makes it softer. But it's still one of the firmest vegetables I've eaten. After boiling, you cook it with a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, and honey (or sugar)
Looks funny, but tastes great. Had I actually seen a lotus root before having this in the restaurant, I probably would have been afraid to try it. I don't know if you can buy this in the USA or not, but I'm sure The Stumbling Mother will search for one.