It always surprises me when I taste, smell or hear something that triggers a memory. I had one of those surprises recently when I was enjoying a wonderful lunch with my husband. On a recent journey it was a windy cloudy day and we decided to get off the highway to find something of the local fare to eat. Using our tried and true method of discovering a local eatery; how many cars are in the parking lot? We discovered the Wicked Tuna. To us it was a hidden gem, and a delightful culinary find! Both of our meals were terrific. We often share tastes of our meal, and my husband asked for a taste of my Roasted Beet and Arugula Salad. He quickly said yum, and then asked why I never cooked beets. This began our discussion of beets and how our mothers had prepared them. I think my mother cooked them the better of the two, they were never mushy.
My mother had called from her office and asked me to cook the beets for dinner. She gave me quick instructions, and ended by saying, “whatever you do not let the water turn red!” Needless to say the water was changed numerous times during their cooking time, this to the delight of my younger sister. When my mother arrived home my sister ran gleefully to tell our mother, “Joy let the water turn red”! Oh how my mother laughed, and hugged me saying, “My mother did the same to me”. This is when I truly realized at the age of 14, that my mother had a wicked sense of humor.
I love beets but have to admit that they did not become one of my go-to-vegetables in my kitchen, but I order them regularly when we are dinning out. It’s occasions like this that changed my attitude toward preparing beets in my own kitchen.
There are many ways to cook beets, roasted is probably my favorite, but just know from my experience, that once the ends are removed from a beet there is no way to keep the red juice from bleeding out if the boil method is used.
Then there are beets in other forms. My co-author of the Fun Foodie Friends cookbook Elaine Callahan’s painting, And the Beets Go On was juried into the Pennsylvania Watercolor Society 35rd International Juried Exhibition and the Georgia Watercolor Society XXXVI National Exhibition, where her painting received an honorable mention award. So it seems that beets have entered into my life in more than one form. And the beet goes on…