Monday, April 12, 2010



I woke up this morning wanting beets. Craving beets, even. April's spring sun was forecast to be shining full-strength. It was sure to be a day loathed to be a Working Day. But, as I watched the sun rise, the sky did not blush with color; Lady Day did not put on her predictable Colorado rouge. The day simply appeared; slowly lightening.....illumination, like a papier-mâché lamp cover placed over a growing candle; growth, the antithesis of a candle. Maybe it was this surprising cinereous greeting which instilled the desire for beets.

Beets of Victory were once mine, bestowed before each concert I played while studying at the Conservatory; then, taken home and eaten after. It was musicians' version of Hunt and Kill. There were other tubers involved in this strange ritual as well: the Turnip of Triumph and the Parsnip of Perseverance. A Musician's Virtue: Perseverance. Rewarded then by Triumph and Victory, or so first-year stage frightened music conservatory students liked to think.

These tubers were designated a specific individual within my triad of friends, gathered at a neighborhood market before each person's concert, and then with the utmost seriousness and religious devotion to the Power of Root Vegetables, the chosen performer would kneel backstage while a Latin phrase was sung Gregorian style, and the root waved o'er like a censer. The fragrance of earth filled our souls...

And so today I walked to a market of a very different kind, to gather My Tuber. The beet was mine. Victory would be mine.

Beets must be one of the only vegetables (at least the only one I can think of at the moment), which bleed upon their sacrifice. They truly are A Kill.

I never have done anything with the beet greens. But tonight? I steamed them right along with their originating roots. I lay them over a bed of kasha, and blanketed some herring over top.


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