Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Inadvisable Meal II: Beets & Sausage

Red beets are not just colorful; they have an excess of color.  They stain everything around them bright red and still their color remains incorruptably deep.  They taste like they look.  They're too much.  It is as if cane sugar is a weak imitation, and red beet is the true flavor of sweet.  We learn from the beet that sweet is in fact not entirely pleasant; it turns the mouth in on itself and pounds the tongue with sticky rocks.

In short, beets should be tempered with other things.  Do not eat a pile of beets with beet sauce.  A pile of beets with sausage covered in beet sauce is not much of an improvement.

In elementary school I knew this Jehovah's Witness who loved beets.  In the cafeteria he would sit down with a huge helping of ruffle-cut beets on his tray, lustily spearing them with his fork and turning his bulging lips red by slurping them into his clumsy mouth.  "Oh, I love beets," he would say.  We would all grimace in disgust.  Some would try to make fun of him, but he would just laugh and flash back an evil, self-contented smile between chomps.  Somehow I always liked him.  No harm could touch him.  He had become a beet, staining everything and impossible to stain.  The dye of beets is the only true substance.  A beet may be eaten, but its color persists and travels through you, eventually ending up in the ocean.  How the oceans are not a deep magenta is beyond me.

I had planned to write this in the morning, but tonight beets have kept me up writing about beets.  The beet has disrupted my plans and it smirks.  Pastry may be sorcery, but the beet is something much older, purer, and more insidious.  Root vegetables are coming into vogue like never before.  It is the age of roots, and the beet is rising.

I am sick of beets.  Perhaps I should make a beet cake, or a beet pie.

3 medium beets: 1 red, 1 yellow, 1 white & pink
1/4 of a lemon
4 peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 teaspoons flour

Peel beets and chop into bite-sized pieces ~1cm thick.  In a large saucepan bring 2 cups of water to boil, and add beets  Squeeze juice from lemon quarter and drop the whole thing in the pan.  Add peppercorns and salt.  Lower heat to medium-high and cover.  Boil for about 50 minutes, adding more water if necessary and stirring beets every fifteen minutes or so.  When beets are soft, remove them with a slotted spoon to a large bowl.  Lower heat to medium-low.  Add olive oil to liquid.  Sprinkle flour gradually while whisking liquid.  Remove from heat.  Pour sauce over meat accompaniment.

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