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The Food Party!

By Laura Stec

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About this blog: I've been attracted to food for good and bad reasons for many years. From eating disorder to east coast culinary school, food has been my passion, profession & nemesis. I've been a sugar addict, a 17-year vegetarian, a food and en...  (More)

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I Just Ate Beets for the First Time

Uploaded: Apr 2, 2014

"I just ate beets for the first time two days ago."

This statement was recently emailed to me by a 30-something Food Partier! It stopped me in my tracks. How could you have waited so long, dear reader, for something so sweet and delicious? Welcome to the dark side.

Mountain View-based Ken went on to say that after learning more about food, especially how unsustainable and inhumane meat is, he decided to go vegetarian. His high-tech response was a "recipe inspiration web app," which morphed into Battr, a home delivery service for people with dietary needs, such as vegetarian and gluten-free foods. Battr delivers ingredients for cooks to assemble, not precooked meals. Turns out Ken is looking for 20 people in the Mountain View, Los Altos area to test the service out. If you are interested, leave me a note below and I'll connect you.

Long story short, Ken learned a little bit more about the food system, hooked up with beets, and is now a much more satisfied man. So to honor him, and all you other beet virgins, I encourage you to wait no longer. Just succumb. Beets are one of the most misunderstood vegetables, but we are all looking for something new and exciting, aren't we?

If it is an issue of attraction, you have probably only eaten beets boiled. DON'T BOIL YOUR BEETS. Yucky, squishy, soggy and diluted! Bake beets instead. It's easy to do and the technique reveals their secrets.

Secrets? Oooooo! Remember back to the first Food Party! "Welcome to The Food Party! - Kitchen Science Tip #1," we mentioned that vegetables have secrets.

Do you recall what they are?

This could be that new relationship you've been looking for.

Baked Beets with a Secret

Wash your unpeeled beet.
Rip of a piece of aluminum foil, big enough to wrap the beet (s) in.
Coat your hands with olive oil and rub around the beet.
Wrap in the foil.
Pop in the oven at 375°F for approximately one hour, until a fork inserts easily.
Remove from oven, open foil, let beet cool, and the skin peels off just with your hands.
Eat as is or drizzle on a touch of extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and salt.

What is it worth to you?


Posted by Max, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Apr 2, 2014 at 12:00 pm

Baked beets! Interesting. Have to try that. (Even boiled I think they can be pretty flavorful, if they're fresh and not overcooked. And you don't even have to be vegetarian to appreciate them!)

Fresh flavorful roots are under-appreciated, I agree. Today beets, tomorrow turnips!

Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Apr 2, 2014 at 1:20 pm

After virtually my whole life as a meat and potatoes, and not even a big potato fan, recently all the information and the inescapable conclusion that this is just not good for me or anyone else caught up with me.

I started juicing first, green juice, and then when I found out I liked that began to eat more vegetables.

Beets were something I just found out about in the last year along with most of the greens, collards, kale, chard, etc. They all go well in a green juice ... but make it kind of red and brownish purple though. Pure beets are pretty hard for me to eat along, although the salad bar shredded beets are OK to me.

I like the grilled veggies they have at the Whole Foods prepared food section. I think grilled beets might be OK. I never cared much for zucchini and squash either until recently, but in the grilled veggies and with beans and sauces they are pretty good.

Beets have a kind of "dirt" taste to me that is pretty strong and goes a long way. It takes my body a while to program itself to the goodness of beets, but they are better than a lot of other stuff in the supermarket.

Discover the world of vegetables, and discover growing them as well. I wish there were more vegetable choices in local restaurants, because now there are not a lot place I go anymore because the vegetable content of even the vegetarians places are mostly the cheapest vegetables and a complete rip off.

Posted by Beeten, a resident of Bailey Park,
on Apr 2, 2014 at 5:37 pm

My wife got me into beets. I've always shunned them, then about 4 years ago she baked them this way, drizzling some sort of balsamic concoction over it like above. One bite and I was hooked. I'm glad too, those things are absolute health-balls; a huge nutrient bang for the buck. We grew some last year, growing more this year!

Side note: A recent Portlandia sketch involved two 911 operators fielding calls, one after another, of people vaguely referencing "so much blood", and "I may be bleeding". After "Are you cut?" the next question was always "Did you eat beets last night?" It was always the beets ;)

Posted by Don't worry if you see beet red!, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Apr 2, 2014 at 7:48 pm

Advice for new beet eater: don't be alarmed if you're seeing beet red in the bowl the next time you relieve yourself. The beet color is a great natural dye!

Posted by Laura Stec, a Mountain View Online blogger,
on Apr 2, 2014 at 9:00 pm

Laura Stec is a registered user.

Who knew? We have some impassioned beet people in town! Thanks everyone for your side dishes. Crescent Park Anon - have you been to Calafia lately? Charlie does a good job with veggies, still. But I agree with you - veggies are the trend and restaurants around here need to catch up. Ketchup? Beets today. Turnip tomorrow!

Posted by AMRW, a resident of another community,
on Apr 3, 2014 at 12:08 pm

I was one of those kids who was forced to eat food that was distasteful and even disgusting to me. Beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts. But, since I've tried them again as an adult, I love all three!
For cooking beets, I prefer to cook golden beets, because the color doesn't go everywhere like the red beet color does.

Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Apr 3, 2014 at 5:50 pm

Laura, I have been to Calafia recently. I go every once in a while. I like Calafia, but I find the prices very high. And ... for me, it's not that I mind paying high prices for good food, and Calafia is pretty good, it's just that I have a mental thing about restaurants in Palo Alto. No matter how good they are, you have to figure that just for the privilege of dining in our town everything costs about 30% more ... so it's like you go a restaurant you may love, and you sit down and open your wallet to give 30% of the money you spend to some landlord who is degrading the quality and quantity of the food you are about to eat. So, then when I get hit again with the vegan/vegetarian tax ... that is, the fact that food that should cost less actually costs much more for its ingredients I start to smolder a bit. But honestly, Calafia is a very nice place and they do make an honest effort to please their patrons which means a lot.

Since Hobee's was priced out of Town & Country I eat and shop at T&C a lot less, and I have been going to T&C since 1970.

I know about capitalism, and I have no great or easy suggestions about how to change it, I just find it unfair to the people who do the real work and the those of us who foot the bill for it all, so I have cut way back on going out. I'll go to places I feel are a value and try to leave a reasonable tip, but Palo Alto is a victim of its own zip code!

Meanwhile I read about places in Southern California, a raw food places called Veggos in Orange County and looking at their menu and prices I just wonder ... why can't we get anything cool like that down here?

Veggos Raw Vegan Deli http://www.veggosgreencuisine.com

Posted by Laura Stec, a Mountain View Online blogger,
on Apr 4, 2014 at 7:28 am

Laura Stec is a registered user.

CrescentParkAnon - good entry. Thanks for the time. "Vegetarian tax," so true! I love Veggos! And AMRW - no matter what the childhood relationship with this mysterious vegetable - I guess the beet goes on! Sorry, someone had to say it.

Posted by Steve, a resident of Shoreline West,
on Apr 4, 2014 at 9:58 am

You can grill cardboard, drizzle it with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and salt and it tastes pretty good.

Posted by USA, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Apr 4, 2014 at 10:26 am

Steve for LOL award of the day.

Yeah, I'd rather have cardboard than beats.

Posted by Laura Stec, a Mountain View Online blogger,
on Apr 4, 2014 at 10:38 am

Laura Stec is a registered user.

Food Partiers, you keep me laughing.

Posted by USA, a resident of Old Mountain View,
on Apr 4, 2014 at 1:08 pm

USA is a registered user.

CrescentParkAnon -- Sprouts Cafe on University is pretty reasonable.

Posted by Thoughtful, a resident of another community,
on Apr 4, 2014 at 2:26 pm

Everyone knows that beets are not a proper food !! -- Beets ARE an abomination.

Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Apr 4, 2014 at 9:36 pm

USA ... I've been to Sprouts, and went there pretty steadily for a month or two. To tell you the truth I got very tired of the lines and the wait and the inefficient way they took and prepared their orders. Another problem is that while I do try to eat as much vegetables and fruits as possible, I have not given up on meat. I like a little meat with my salads or vegetables about half the time, and the meat at Sprouts is just really not good.

I've also tried Lyfe Kitchen. Went there for weeks, but just got tired of the high prices, long waits, the loud noise.

I think it's pretty sad some of the more stupid comments here. I used to joke about how bad beets are when I had never eaten them. But the real joke is on us, or we who have been programmed to like to consume stuff that is not even food. Our food is what is an abomination. The idea that we can break things down into chemicals and eat those chemicals and it is the same thing as eating the natural food ... that is a dangerous abomination, and a deadly one as well.

Eating and food is a habit more than anything. I used to eat lots of processed food. Lots of chemically laden junk that I thought was food that would fill me up and I was conditioned from a young age to like. That is what an abomination is. The abomination is that so many people are participating in undermining their own physicality and humanity and joking about it - and not only that but we continue to make the participation in that process what our country is all about.

Posted by Red Root, a resident of Blossom Valley,
on Apr 5, 2014 at 7:09 am

Our daughter's daycare gave beets to all the kids one day. Most all the kids loved them, but the after affect in the bathroom the next day sent some parents into a panic. After that they always put up an warning sign "The kids had beets today" Funny :)

Posted by Laura Stec, a Mountain View Online blogger,
on Apr 5, 2014 at 3:35 pm

Laura Stec is a registered user.

Abominable Beets? No se'.
I just did a cook class today, shaving both beets and turnips on to my dish. If you don't like baking, try shaving and eating raw instead. CRUNCH!

Posted by Carolyn D, a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park,
on Apr 7, 2014 at 12:38 pm

I concur with the beet enthusiasts. The beet greens are also deliciously edible, either raw or lightly cooked.

And, beets are very easy to grow! Give it a try-this is the time of the year to get them started. There is nothing better than cooking a freshly picked beet. Not the same as what you get in the stores. They can be grown in a small rectangular planter. The seeds take a while to germinate-just be patient, and keep the soil moist, follow the directions on the seed package.

Sometimes people get overwhelmed by trying to grow vegetables. Just try one or two things, and keep it simple. A simple pot or container is a great way to get started.

Posted by Savannah Murphy, a resident of Downtown North,
on Apr 8, 2014 at 4:11 pm

For the "beeters" and "juicers" out there! Please remember to juice the stems and leaves of the beets. IN fact when I go to the store "sometimes" they will give me extra stems and leaves. they juice wonderfully and pack that fantastic color to any juice (from my Breville).

...and Laura! thanks - never had a raw beet before, but will try one soon! thanks!

Posted by Laura Stec, a Mountain View Online blogger,
on Apr 8, 2014 at 11:18 pm

Laura Stec is a registered user.

Savannah Murphy, stems and leaves? Thank you. Never thought of that. For the shave, I used a peeler, FYI

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