“The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent not of passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious …The beet is the melancholy vegetable, the one most willing to suffer. You can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip … The beet is the murderer returned to the scene of the crime. The beet is what happens with the cherry finishes with the carrot. The beet is the ancient ancestor of the autumn moon, bearded, buried, all but fossilized; the dark green sails of the grounded moon-boat stitched with veins of primordial plasma; the kite string that once connected the moon to the Earth now a muddy whisker drilling desperately for rubies”
That’s the beginning of Jitterbug Perfume. It’s a madcap adventure through time about immortality and true love and the greatest of all perfumes. The beet, or mangel-wurzel, is featured prominently, as is Seattle, Paris and New Orleans. To say that I love this book is an understatement. I love just about everything Tom Robbins writes. I think he is pure literary genius and this particular novel tugs at my most romantic heartstrings. I am not sure how many times I’ve read it, but every time I do, I fall in love with it all over again. With the book and with beets.
So, when I spied some beets at the store I knew that I needed to bring them home with me.
I peeled them, chopped them and roasted them along with some butternut squash.
Then I tossed with them some salad greens, feta cheese, sweet and spicy walnuts and some balsamic vinegariette. A hearty pre-Spring salad (I know the calendar technically claims that it is springtime, but the weather outside says otherwise).
The best way to describe the flavor of the beet is that it is undeniably earthy. In fact I have no other way to describe it.
Go forth and read Jitterbug Perfume, fall in love and eat some beets.