Saturday, October 8, 2011

Warning. Indelicate prose ahead... beet revolution. April 2009

...and a little child shall lead them.

I guess it's all in how you approach the vegetable.  My little cousin Maggie loves pickled beets.  Well, many members of my family do, but I'm not one of them.  Still, I decided that if Maggie could try a beet, I could too, after 30+ years of "yuck."

I really don't enjoy pickled beets, but I didn't gack or anything.  I believe that the reason I don't appreciate those beets is because of the whole "pickled" premise.  Here in the country, people like to plant, grow and can.  All too often, canning means pickling.

I have a distinct memory at the age of five or so.  When you grow older, you learn to recognize the sensation of nausea.  You learn, even, to eat things in spite of the problem because you recognize the need for nutrition...but you make the digestible that you consume something like pudding or mashed potatoes that won't be COMPLETELY appalling if it makes a reappearance.

When you are little, you are taken completely unawares by nausea.  It's not something that you understand.  You don't think, "Uhoh...I should maybe get a bucket near me."  And in one particularly volcanic episode, I was stricken with the nastiest flu after I had eaten a salami sandwich with sweet pickles on it.  I Linda Blaired it all over the place.  I never saw anything sweet pickled as pleasant after that.  And I still don't.

So, if beets were put in front of me, I did not partake.  I could sit at the table for hours if need be to avoid eating beets, lima beans or liver.  I'd even say, "It's ok, I don't WANT dessert anyway, Mom."  This didn't happen a lot, because I wasn't a finicky eater and, as a matter of fact, when I probably looked something like this.

But lately, I decided to timorously try beets. Although I still don't like the pickled flavor, I really WANTED to try them the way my grandmother described having them as a kid: boiled for an hour, peeled and sliced with salt and butter...eaten warm.

Now I am a beet fiend.  They are wonderful.  Tonight, I decided to see if I could get my beets-are-icky niece to try them grandma's way.  I don't think she was all that keen on the idea.  But tentatively, she put one slice on a plate, salted it a little, cut it into four pieces and put a bite in her mouth.

I held my breath.  Pretty soon, she forked another bite.  She decided she thought they were pretty good that way.  She had another couple of slices and we warned her that the pinkness doesn't go away in the digestive process. Vive la revolution!

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