Tuesday, November 08, 2011

NaBloPoMo Day 8: Why Can't I Love Beets (or Squash)?

One of the things about joining a Community Sponsored Agriculture (CSA) is you get what you get. In the middle of summer, you tend to get exciting things like blueberries, tomatoes, sweet corn, and green onions.  Toward the end of the season, though, it's mostly squash and beets, with a few potatoes and greens.

I was a picky eater as a kid, and as a young adult, the vegetables I would eat could be counted on my fingers: Tomatoes, corn, carrots, celery, lettuce, and the occasional pepper or cucumber.  That was pretty much it. My first attempt at a real, actual diet was (God help me) Richard Simmons's Food Mover program, which I bought from an infomercial at a very weak moment.  I am still a little ashamed and no, I don't think I have it anymore.  To be honest, I kind of wish I did.  The hardest thing about that diet for me was that it required eating so many vegetables. If you look at my list of acceptable veggies, you can see why this was such a problem.

Later in life I learned to like more veggies. I thank Chef Kathleen, Weight Watchers, and CSAs for opening my eyes to the wider world of produce. However, I still sometimes have a visceral "yuck" reaction to certain veggies, even if I actually like the food in question.

Exhibit A: Beets.  Just last week I made a gorgeous salad with roasted beets marinated in balsamic vinegarette.  They were delicious and the salad was delicious. I had a lot of beets leftover, so I put them in a jar that my friend had given me the week before filled with stewed apples. My husband wouldn't eat them (even though he liked the salad too).  I somehow couldn't make myself eat any more of them, so I gave the jar full of beets back to my friend.  She loved them.  I then made beets to take to her potluck (along with homemade hummus, which was a hit).  I left the leftover beets there.  I don't think it was too much of a secret that I was dumping the beets. I don't really understand it, because I did like them, but there was some sort of a mental block for me in the idea of eating them again.

I feel the same way, though to a much lesser extent, about squash. I still have several pounds of squash left from my CSA, and though I have found many squash recipes I like, including Roasted Acorn Squash (I like to put pecans in mine), this gorgeous gnocchi recipe (pictured here with salmon and a spinach salad) and pumpkin bread (substituting roasted mashed squash for the canned pumpkin), I just don't feel excited about cooking a bunch more squash.

The problem could be any of a number of things. Both of these veggies take substantial prep time even before I can use them in recipes. They are messy. With squash, there is the matter of hacking them apart and scraping out the seeds (though I love them roasted) With beets, there is the bleeding, even after they are roasted.

I think mostly, though, that as much as the new part of me wants to be SuperFitHealthyWoman, the older part of me is still the kid in the big coke-bottle glasses looking at the veggies and thinking "yuck." Maybe instead I could have a plate of plain spaghetti with butter (in the early days I would not eat tomato sauce).  Squash and beets may be nutritious, they may even be delicious, but for me they're still not comfort food.


  1. I love beets and even crave them, but after I have eaten them for one meal, I usually have no desire to eat the rest of the bunch. My husband won't eat them, so the rest tend to go to waste. My theory is that that the nutrients in beets are something you don't need a lot of, so one serving at a time is plenty.

  2. "With beets, there is the bleeding"

    Oh I loved that line :) Crazy for the beets here but totally get the squash heebie jeebies! The ones that creep me out are what Aussies call button squash but I think you guys call patty pan squash. My parents grew them and there were SO many of them and to this day the very thought of them gives me the boak. I know I should be thinking about the Vitamin C or whatnot but just cannot do it!

    (Really enjoying you Nano posts! :)


"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07