I have always been a vegetable fan. Most fruit is a take it or leave it situation with me. The biggest exception is if I’m faced with blueberries or raspberries. I can eat those until I’m on the verge of puking. Other fruits, not so much. But vegetables. I love vegetables. Zucchini is my favorite overall but I love a lot of different vegetables and those that I don’t love? I usually at least like them well enough. I never met a vegetable I wouldn’t eat.
Except THE BEET.
Oh my god, I hate beets. Seriously. I have bad memories of beets from my childhood. I always liked them pickled, but cooked, hot beets? Eww. Totally disgusting. I used to try to choke some down at supper time whenever one of my grandmothers would make them but in the end I was always so relieved and grateful that my family did not believe in forcing my sister and I to clear our plates. Because I just couldn’t eat them.
For two decades I have refused to eat them and could get almost violent in my descriptions as to how much I completely hate beets. And yet for some reason, when I went to the fruit and vegetable store this week, I said, “hey! Beets are only 99 cents for a bunch! Let’s get some!”
I blame it on Carol who shows us her weekly CSA share, which often contains beets, and her ongoing quest to find ways to serve them without being revolting. I also blame Dara who ALSO shows us her CSA share (and dammit, I want in on that next summer please and thank you) and on top of it, showed me a way to make roasted beets which are more palatable.
See, both my grandmothers, while having several tasty dishes that I loved to eat, basically subscribed to the British School Of Cooking Vegetables – boil the shit out of everything. To this day I still laugh at the memory of each of them starting to boil a pot of vegetables an HOUR before supper would be ready. All vegetables were mush. To be honest, it’s a miracle I like vegetables at all, really. They would have shuddered to eat my veggies, which are usually at least still retaining a little crispiness.
I decided to let go of my horror over beets and give them a try. After all, they were 99 cents, it’s not like it would be a huge waste of money if I still hated them, and they’re so incredibly good for you. I also reminded myself that I spent my entire life thinking I hated lamb because I just couldn’t eat it when my grandmother on my dad’s side cooked it. It turns out there’s another school called the British School Of Cooking Things Until They’re Really Dry and I was shocked the first time I tried a bite of George’s lamb chop at an office Christmas party one year because it was totally delicious.
I roasted those beets for two hours because they were fairly big, and I nervously served them with supper. We were having rotisserie chicken, some cheesy noodles, and steamed cauliflower with shredded cheese so I knew I had plenty to eat even if I still couldn’t deal with the beets.
The kids didn’t like them much. George loved them. Me? I’ll probably never be able to claim to LOVE beets, but I liked them well enough to eat two of them with supper. The salt I added helped a bit. They were really okay and I’ll make them again. It’s a big step for me. It’s like I’ve just tentatively made friends with my biggest enemy.
Some day I’ll have to try the Indian roasted beets that Carrie wrote about. I figure between my new acceptance of beets and my absolute love of any food from India, I should be okay with those.
Did you have a food that you hated as a kid and have come to accept now that you’re an adult?