I despise going to the supermarket, especially on a holiday weekend. I’ve read that the average person spends about five years of their lifetime waiting in lines, and while I can’t vouch for the accuracy of that statistic, it certainly seemed well within the realm of possibility after schlepping around a crowded grocery store on Easter weekend. I feel like I’ve already spent five years waiting in line. I think I spent that much time waiting in line today.
Hi, I’m the Grim Reaper. If you die waiting in line, I’m right behind ya.
The grocery store is never a pleasant experience for me, and it’s partially due to the fact that I’m not very organized. I can’t remember the last time I made a list before I went shopping. I’ll venture out for something I need, wander around through the herds of slowpokes strolling up and down the aisles and playing on their smartphones, slowly becoming more and more agitated. I usually end up randomly throw a few interesting-looking things in my basket, some vegetarian item or whatever the powers-that-be on PBS are calling a superfood this week. Even if I have no clue what they are or how to cook them. Then I leave without the item I originally came for.
Sometimes this haphazard style of shopping turns into a happy accident, sometimes it doesn’t. As a sidenote, the first time I bought a plantain I thought it was just a really giant, supercool banana. They were in a bin next to the bananas, they looked like bananas. I was excited because I love bananas. I went home, cut one up and put it on my cereal. What a shitty banana, I thought. This one must not be ripe. I ate half of another one and then gave up. I had quite an unfortunate stomach problem for the rest of the day. I found out later you’re supposed to cook them. Oopsy.
On the other hand, I’ve learned to cook some rather interesting things because I’m always lacking the staples necessary to make normal meals. Due to my spaciness, my cupboards and fridge are filled with oddities and yet missing exotic things like salt and bread. If I can’t make anything that tastes all that fantastic, I try to amuse myself by at least making it look fun. Ironically, for someone who doesn’t eat meat, I more often than not end up with something that looks like it belongs in a horror movie: a pomegranate massacre, a bleeding tofu snack, or a vegan Easter cake I made, featuring the Monty Python rabbit who bludgeoned travelling passerby and lived in a cave strewn with skulls.
Maybe I should see a psychiatrist. Okay, back to my story.
Today, all I needed was toothpaste. Wegman’s was packed with every mother and screaming child in the tri-state area, plus a couple of their cousins and their cousin’s cousins. There were no little carts left and somebody ran over my foot with their big cart and then glared at me as I hopped around in agony like a monkey. I wasn’t even halfway through the produce department and I was over it. So what did I end up with? A bag of, um… beets.
I was relieved to be out of the chaos, but when I got home I was hungry. I’ve actually never eaten a beet before, I grabbed them because I was reminded of an episode of ‘Hannibal’ where Dr. Chilton is disemboweled and can only eat vegetables, so Dr. Lechter makes him some kind of beet salad. I don’t know how many people get their culinary inspiration from a television show about a serial killer who eats people for dinner, but now we know there is at least one. Howdy.
So, thanks to Google and a couple hours of free time, today I learned how to make a “bloody beet steak.”
It’s fairly easy, you simply wash your beets, cut the tops off and rub them with olive oil. I put mine in a baking dish at 375 degrees for two hours until they were tender, then peeled the skin off and cut them into about 1 inch slices. I sprinkled each side with a bit of salt and pepper and threw them in a skillet until they looked slightly browned on each side, let them chill in the fridge and threw them over some greens. The dressing is a plain old red wine vinaigrette: half a cup of olive oil and a quarter cup of red wine vinegar with a smidge of crushed garlic, a pinch of salt and pepper and some of the remaining beet juice to make it extra red.
I have discovered that I love beets. They’re delicious, and amazingly healthy, no matter how horrifically bloody they appear. I found tons of recipes online for everything from beet cake to beet smoothies to beet salsa.
I also found a few articles detailing the horrors of those who ended up freaking out the day after eating their first big ol’ batch of beets. Apparently they give you pink tinkle, so eat a beet, but watch out for that. You’re welcome.
I’m now going to sit down and enjoy my bloody beets. And then brush my teeth with peroxide and baking soda because I just remembered I forgot to buy my damn toothpaste.