Dazed and confused? Not me. I’m just Lost in the Cheese Aisle.

Monday, January 18, 2016


“Out, damned spot!” - Lady Macbeth (Macbeth, Act V, Scene 1)

“Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood
Clean from my hand? No; this my hand will rather
The multitudinous seas incarnadine,
Making the green one red.” - Macbeth (Macbeth, Act II, Scene 2)

* * *

Every once in a while, I indulge my love of the Beet-Root.

Whole Paycheck Foods generally offers a fine selection of beets - red, golden, and, occasionally, the pink-and-white chioggia - and it is there that I will pick up a few softball-sized specimens when the Beet-Urge strikes. A softball-sized beet, we should note, is reasonably humongous.

Most often, I will rinse said beet to remove surface dirt, wrap it in aluminum foil, and then roast it at 350ºF for 75-90 minutes. Once it cools enough to be handled, I remove the skin by rubbing it off with paper towels - way easier than using a potato peeler on a raw beet. Then it is a simple matter of hacking the root into large dice and seasoning to taste. (I like to douse beets in sherry vinegar, give them a liberal sprinkle of orange zest and tarragon, a pinch or two of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, and then a drizzle of olive oil. Add some goat cheese and/or a few orange segments if you want to get fancy.)

Beets with suprêmes of blood orange, AKA “Murder in the Produce Section.”

As I was skinning one especially large root the other day, I could not help but notice the incredible amount of reddish-purple juice that was schpritzing all over the kitchen. Good Gawd, it resembled nothing so much as a vegan murder scene... and that made me think of The Scottish Play, for it takes a certain amount of obsessive hand-scrubbing à la Lady Macbeth to remove the persistent Beet-Root Stain.

Ahhh, the things I endure to enjoy my tasty treats.

Postscriptum: The following evening, I was reminded about yet another property of the Ruby Root, having been momentarily horrified at the reddish color appearing in the porcelain bowl. “Holy crap!” I thought. “Am I passing another kidney stone?” And then I remembered the beets.


Kevin Kim said...

Tom Robbins is the Master of the Beet.

From Jitterbug Perfume:

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.

The Maximum Leader said...

I, too, love beets. They are wonderful. Now I am having a craving.