One of my favorite movie lines is from A League of Their Own. Tom Hanks plays the besotted coach for an all-female softball team. He yells at one of his players and she breaks into tears. Hanks is superbly irate—shaking while trying to suppress his anger—and shouting in her face, “There is no crying in baseball!”
But what if the game you are playing is “Food Blogging?” What if you are on a constant search for interesting topics and colorful foods that would be enticing and inspiring to write about and photograph? And what if you’re main activity is to create recipes for these wonderful foods to pass along to readers who will surely find them delicious?
Food Blogger: “But coach, one of your favorite colors is red? Beets are so very red! What if I truly can’t stand beets!!”
Coach Hanks: “Can’t stand beets!!? Can’t stand beets!!? Well honey, you just buck up, that’s all! You want colorful food to show off on your blog and beets would be just the right color? Then you better march yourself down to that store and muster up the courage to pick out those nice red roots and get busy! Because you . . are . . . going . . . to make beets! And they will be spectacular!”
Food Blogger: “Oh Coach Hanks, it’s so terrible. I can’t even stand the smell of them. And you want me to (sniff) cook with them? (sniff, sniff)
Coach Hanks: [Shaking, sweating, eyes bulging] “Yes. Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. So stop your sniveling! Here’s a tissue. Please, for-the-love-of-god, shut off those waterworks and get back to blogging. You go out there and hit that beet recipe out of the park!”
Grated Raw Beet Salad
We beet-haters are not alone. All you have to do is google “beet recipes for people who hate beets” and you get pages of suggestions. I personalized this recipe from one I found online in the New York Times by Martha Rose Shulman. She says, “People who swear they hate beets love this salad. It’s a North African-inspired mixture of grated, uncooked beets dressed with orange and lemon juices and a small amount of olive oil.”
Food Blogger: [Thinks to self] “I don’t swear I hate beets, Rosey, I CURSE them! And I don’t see how a little juice and olive oil is going to change that. I’m not going to waste my time. I’ll make just one serving.”
- One small beet, washed and peeled. I picked Chiogga Beets. They seemed easier to confront than those really dark red ones. Turns out these were red and white inside.
- Freshly squeezed orange juice
- A squirt of freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Olive oil
- Sea salt
- A little chopped parsley
- A little thinly sliced scallions
- A lettuce leaf
- One emergency clothespin to hold your nose while you attempt to eat this black widow of a vegetable.
1. Decide that if you’re going to make beet salad, you might as well at least try to make a good one. Do it for coach Hanks. Do it for the team. You might even score a single.
2. Batter up. Wash and peel that beet and shred it on a grater or toss it into a food processer. If you end up pulverizing the beet into mush, no worries. At least you tried. Toss the mush into your cat’s food and call it feline borscht.
3. Looks like you might be thrown a curve ball. Be ready with the juices mixed up with your salt and olive oil.
4. Call time out! Take a moment to chop up the parsley and scallions. The colors will look great on the beets and who knows? They may even distract from the beet taste.
5. This is it. Get ready for the first pitch. Toss the shredded beets with the parsley and scallions and drizzle on that dressing. Put the salad onto the lettuce leaf and stare down that nasty beet.
6. Swing batter, batter! (That’s my husband baiting me because he wants to see my face when I eat these beets.)
7. Step up to the plate. Taste. Don’t forget the clothespin.
Umpire: “You’re safe!”
Food Blogger: “Coach! Coach! Did you see that? I hit a little looper and got to first base! A little juice and olive oil did make a difference.”
Coach Hanks: “I’m proud of you! Let’s keep working on that swing and we’ll have you hitting grand slams in no time!”