Monday, April 25, 2005

Up Beet

You'll never guess what I had for lunch today?

Uh, based on the title of this posting I'd guess "beets."

Bingo! Yep, I ate a beet or more accurately three beet slices. Pickled beet slices. They were all dripping and red and tasted like dirt. I might have them again tomorrow.

Then, again, the wave of madness may pass and I'll go another 50 years (hopefully) before eating another beet slice. Fifty years is a pretty long time to hold a grudge. Especially against a vegetable, but there you have it in a nutshell. Many years ago I had a Bad Beet Experience that set me on a half-century of beetlessness. That's beet-less-ness not beetles-sness.

The Experience involved a young me, a beet and my uncle LJ who delivered the unwanted said beet to my little plate. I looked at the beet. The beet looked back. I picked up the beet and remember thinking "Holy Mackerel! This thing made my hand go red!" whereupon I dropped it on the floor.

To Uncle LJ it looked like I threw it on the floor and perhaps I did accelerate the beet's journey to the linoleum below.

Uncle LJ calmly picked the beet up, put it back on my plate and added a second beet.

What's this? They're multiplying! Even though I didn't even know what multiplying was, in any sense of the word, I did know that I had a bigger problem then before, so I tried an experiment. I took both beets and threw them on the floor.

Uncle LJ calmly picked the beets up, put them back on my plate and added a third beet.

Now, I never claimed to be a child prodigy but I remember having this distinct vision of a vast crimson mountain rising out of my tiny plate, bursting through the ceiling and reaching the moon.

Little did I know that the worst was yet to come. I was expected to eat all three beets. Up until now all I'd done is manhandle them. Under Uncle LJ's patient gaze I picked up my first victim, took a nibble and...

...well, I don't remember much after that. Apparently, it took me about an hour to struggle down three small beets. The Beet Story became family legend and I was the "beet" of jokes for years.

I managed to avoid beets since that fateful meal. I never bought them. I never ordered them in a restaurant. I would not eat them in a box. I would not eat them with a fox.

Until yesterday.

And there they were at the salad bar. A new item. Never seen beets at the salad bar before. Suddenly I had a real hankering for beets, so I took a couple of slices and, well, the rest is history.

Who knows what vistas will open up to me tomorrow? Maybe they'll have fennel on the menu. Ah, yes, that reminds me of the Great Fennel Fiasco...


Anonymous said...

I have a similar childhood memory about fresh green beans. The pile just kept getting bigger. "I would not eat them in a box. I would not eat them with a fox." You are too funny.

Anonymous said...

Up until now, I thought I was the only person who had a bad childhood beet experiance. When I was about 3, I found beets on my plate at dinner summer evening. I tasted the beets and I instantly got sick to my stomach, so I left them alone and finished the rest of my food. I couldn't come up with the right word for how they made me feel sick, so when my dad prompted me to finish my beets, I told him that they made my stomach feel funny...and he didn't understant that I meant that I was going to throw up if I ate them. Being three, I decided that a good way to disguise the taste would be to barely chew them and then wash every bite down with a large gulp of milk. I was on my last bite when I threw up pink milk and pickled beets all over the table and everything on it. I was never forced to eat all my food again...and to this day can not stomach the sight or smell of picked beets. Blech.