Bubble and Squeak is a Funny not Slutty food column by humorist Elizabeth Bastos.
There is a recipe for beets in The Joy of Cooking called “Harvard Beets.” Beets are not an Ivy League food; mizuna is, microgreens are, a coulis of frambois sauvage is, as is anything served in a terrine. I’d be disappointed if my money and my kid were going to Harvard for $50,000 or one billion dollars or whatever tuition is and received the following text: Hi Mom. Go Crimson! BTW beets for dinner, again.
The closest anyone in my family may get to paying full-freight to Harvard is Harvard beets, so I made them just to get ever that much closer. I told the kids, “These beets will make you smart so that you will go to Harvard and become cardiologists and support me in my old age.”
“What about strong, Mom? I want to be strong.” My 5 year old son said.
”I want to be a princess.” said my 3 year old daughter.
Harvard Beets taste like beets, by which I mean it tastes like dirt. But we don’t say dirt anymore, us localvore, foodie, terroir-people. We call the dirt “soil” and there are further distinctions: loam, clay, slate, slatey-loam, loamey slate, sand, sandy clay with hints of granite, whiffs of schist.
“Tastes like when I put dirt in my mouth at Nannie’s house.” My daughter said.
“Nannie let you do that?” Note to self: talk to Nannie about child-care strategies.
“Pleeaaaase. I want to eat dirt again, Mom!” My son said. So: beets won’t make you smart.
Further research revealed this recipe for beets may not be named after Harvard University. Lore says Harvard is a bastardization of Harwood, a tavern in England that is so proud of this recipe for cold pickled root vegetable salad that is is defensive.
Harvard, Harwood, soil or dirt — if you ask me, these beets are more like Stay At Home In State Tuition Beets. Common. Cheap. Within my reach. But, I prefer to serve small beats whole atop spinach spaghetti, I call it Dirt Balls on Grass. The crowd of preschoolers invariably goes wild and realizes not what they are eating. Splendid! When they rejected me, Harvard really underestimated what I would achieve.
FnS Food Columnist Elizabeth Bastos is a SAHM of two under five. She used to work in corporate and foundation relations, and before that, as a writer for the Museum of Science, Boston. Now she moonlights, writing, and in her free time, she cooks complicated French pastries to tempt her children into doing what she asks. http://www.goodybastos.blogspot.com/