This is one of my few homegrown recipes -- this is how my mother made parsnips while I was growing up. I've tried other recipes, and, parsnips are always good. . . But I've never found a recipe to match this one. The sugar-water boil brings out the natural sweetness of the parsnips. And the butter that you fry in adds that satiny texture. Friends always ignore my final instructions -- they're so good, they don't want to take the time to put on margarine or salt!
Combine water and sugar in a large pan. Bring to a boil. Add parsnips. Bring back up to a boil; cook for 10 minutes. Drain.
In a large frying pan, melt butter over medium heat. Layer the parsnips in an even layer and fry until done, turning occasionally. Doneness is subject to personal taste, but there should be at least a golden brown ring around the outer edge. Best eaten hot, slathered with margarine, and a light sprinkling of salt.
As you may guess, this is a homegrown recipe (passed from my mother to me), so, whereas I studied it extensively to shake out actually amounts, I don't have any hard times for the final fry-up. Keep your eye on it. And the burnt ones usually taste really good too!
One last note -- if you're doubling this, there's really no need to double the sugar-water mix. The initial amount is what's needed to boil the parsnips for 10 minutes without boiling out, but it's more than enough to do double. I'm not sure about triple, though. . .