An Unnatural Excitement

During the bi-weekly Costco hunt-and-gather, I came across that innocuous little plastic clamshell box up there. And giddily, I grabbed it from the refrigerated case it was sitting in, and plunked it down in my cart with the meat and fish I’d grabbed already.

Yes, beets. Pre-cooked, vacuum packed, pre-portioned beets. And I typically hate pre-packaged foods because I can do the prep better, cheaper, and more to my liking. But these were just cooked beets. Nothing special about that, right?

Beets are a vegetable that most people seem to hate, along with brussles sprouts, asparagus, cauliflower, and spinach. The reason they’re hated always seems to go with how they were prepared, but in these heady days of creative home cooking and wonderful recipes available online, cooks are coming back to these vegetables that once had a bad name. I mean, have you just tried pan-roasted brussles sprouts with bacon? I throw in some thinly sliced shallots, and I think I can just make a meal out of that.

But of course, I’ve always liked most vegetables. Even beets, which I don’t ever remember seeing raw at a store when I was a kid. Mom would typically buy canned beets, and those would get heated up for dinner sometimes. My sister avoided most foods with color, but I was the oddball who loved restaurants with salad bars, so I’d happily snarf down a couple of beets. I wasn’t, though, a huge fan of borscht…I don’t know why, but something about it is just…off.

Anyway, so lately, I’ve been buying beets at the grocery store, or, if possible, at the farmers’ market, where they’re substantially cheaper and better than the small bunches the store offers. But I’d avoid cooking them on a weeknight, because I’m the only one in the house that would eat them, and to cook up some, I’d have to peel, cut, and cook them (typically roasted in a foil packet on the grill). That’s 30-40 minutes right there.


Then came this little gem: a box with 4-8 ounce packages of cooked beets. Just nuke and serve! There are 3-5 beets in each little pouch, and the whole package ran right around $9. I’m hoping these little guys are at Costco every week I’m there…

In four days, I’ve already gone through two of the packs: one was used for lunch on Saturday, and the other was heated up last night for my vegetable with my salmon.

Yep. I’m far too excited about a vegetable…