The other day I was at the grocery store, chatting up Geoff, my favorite checker. “Dude,” he said- that’s the special name he calls only me- “that’s a lot of beets you got there!” I corrected his grammar and told him about this great beet salad I was making for a party, and we talked about how pretty the fuschia and gold beets would look with a verdant garnish on white plate, and about how good they are for you.
“Yeah, dude, beets are great,” he said happily, “except they taste like shit!”
That’s harsh. For some reason, I took his indictment a little personally. “I guess they do taste kind of like dirt,” I offered.
“You know what they say,” my puckish produce handler began, “one man’s dirt is another man’s…”
“Soil!” I interjected. “And I’m a girl, dumbass!”
I’ve been.sensitive, lately. Anyhoo, I’ve also been thinking a lot about beets.
First of all, I heard about this drink called “Beet Me In St. Louis.” It’s a beet infused gin drink. Who doesn’t love the idea of quaffing a magenta martini, boosting your antioxident, anti-inflammatory and detoxification support, and working on a classy drunk at the same time? Nobody doesn’t love that! The recipe was created by a bartender in Florida named Chad Philips, as a gift for his girlfriend. Aww, it’s even made with love! http://www.npr.org/2013/05/30/184872121/beets-at-the-root-of-this-honey-and-tarragon-cocktail
Here’s the recipe:
2 large uncooked beets, peeled and chopped into 1/4-1/2 inch chunks
1 liter Beefeater Gin
Combine the beets with gin in a glass container and place in a cool, dark place, shaking once or twice a day. After three days, remove the beets from the gin. Store the infused gin in the refrigerator.
Combine equal parts honey and hot water in a container and stir until the two have mixed together. Fill the container with as much fresh tarragon as you can and let sit 8 to 10 hours at room temperature. Strain to remove tarragon.
1 1/2 ounce Beet-Infused Gin
1/2 ounce Domaine De Canton ginger liqueur
1/2 ounce Honey-Tarragon Syrup
1/2 ounce lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in shaker. Shake and strain into a coupe cocktail glass. Garnish with two tarragon leaves.
Someone should make this for me. Quick-like. I’m thirsty.
I have a friend who just got back from Tbilisi, Georgia. That’s right by Macon. Just kidding. It’s the other Georgia, near Russia, in the middle of the borscht belt. Not the Borscht Belt that was known as the Jewish Alps in the Catskills of upstate New York, but the Borscht Belt near Russia, where lots of people eat borscht. Which is made from beets.
Cold soup that looks like Pepto Bismol! Yum! Borscht Belt Comedians include everyone from Jerry Lewis to Lenny Bruce to Joan Rivers to Billy Crystal. Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, Carole King, Barry Manilow and Tina Louise (“Ginger” on Gilligan’s Island) played in the Belt.I tell you what – old Jews know how to party! This illustration is by Drew Friedman, who is fantastic. Check him out here: http://drewfriedman.net/gallery.html and here: http://drewfriedman.blogspot.com
Of course, people get their beets everywhere these days. Britkids get theirs in an inane cartoon called “The Beet Party”.
Pretty cool – if you’re four! Four-year-olds have crappy, unsophisticated taste. However, if you are a four-year-old and you just read that, I didn’t mean it. Just kidding. It’s a joke, and you’ll understand how funny it is when you’re older.
You can go to Shrute Farms for fresh beets: Book your stay now!
You can dye stuff with beets: beetniks! This is what happens if you beet off too much. Consider yourself warned!
I heard this Radio Lab about Beethoven, or BEET-hoven, as it is to be pronounced in this sentence. It was fascinating! It seems that Beethoven made clear notes about how fast his pieces should be played, and they call for really speedy tempos, sometimes so fast they can hardly be played. The Radio Lab guys try to figure out why Ludwig would do such a thing; after all, he was deaf, not stupid! In-ter-rest-ing, I tell you what! Listen to it here: http://www.radiolab.org/blogs/radiolab-blog/2013/feb/19/speedy-beet/
Finally, I direct you to the literary beat. The following quotes are from Tom Robbins’ Jitterbug Perfume, perhaps the most beet-centric of all books.
“The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent not of passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious…Slavic peoples get their physical characteristics from potatoes, their smoldering inquietude from radishes, their seriousness from beets.”
“The beet is the melancholy vegetable, the one most willing to suffer. You can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip…”
“The beet is the murderer returned to the scene of the crime. The beet is what happens when the cherry finishes with the carrot. The beet is the ancient ancestor of the autumn moon, bearded, buried, all but fossilized; the dark green sails of the grounded moon-boat stitched with veins of primordial plasma; the kite string that once connected the moon to the Earth now a muddy whisker drilling desperately for rubies.”
“The beet was Rasputin’s favorite vegetable. You could see it in his eyes.”
Rasputin got the crazy eye!
So yeah, beets. Good and good for ya. Food for thought. Now beat it!
Why are you still here? I admire your stubborn nature and refusal to obey even simple, two word commands! Here is a reward. It has nothing to do with beets. This stuff is so cool and creative I can’t stand it! Check this shit out! Who looks at a bunch of lint and thinks, “Hmm, I wonder if I could…?” Who looks at a cork and says, “Hmm, I think I will devote 12,000 hours to doing this?” Who says, “While passing the salt, I was suddenly reminded of the Joker from Batman?”
These people do. That is why I love them. Yay magical human creativity and innovation! Huzzah! I salute you! http://pinterest.com/thegardenhippie/what-you-make-of-it/
Now don’t this here reply beet all the others you gonna get?
What about turnips? I like turnips. Don’t turnip your nose about a turnip. They are delicious. Plus you forgot to say about how beets er um affect the afterlife of your food. Once it’s digested. And jettisoned from the body.
Excellent point, LAR! 10-15% of the beet-eating public experience sometimes violently colored “bloody” urine or feces after a bout of beets. Hospital emergency rooms get fours of visitors every year due to the technically named “beet-pee freak”. This has to do with stomach acid; people with low stomach acid pee pink, and guts with higher acid content neutralize the beet chemicals that make the color. You may recall from an earlier post (https://smalleradventure.com/2010/07/locked-in-keystone/) that this is not the case with asparagus urine, which may have a genetic component. With asparagus pee, only 22-50% of the population can smell it, even though everyone squirts it. I am going to have a dinner where I serve both things and invite 10- 50% of my friends. I’ll call it “The PungentPinkPeeLooza”, and then I’ll make fun of anyone who doesn’t get it, “it” being the magic veggie water. Cool people piss fragrant rainbows, and “Peeloozas” whiz nothin’ but wet.
I haven’t giggled that much reading about beets…well, ever. Love you and your stream of consciousness!
PS. I was going to make a similar joke but Uncle H. beet me to it.