I’d eat a window curtain
And perhaps a roller skate,
But a beet, you may be certain
Would be wasted on my plate.
Shout out to famed children’s poet Jack Prelutsky and his delightful piece, I’d Never Eat a Beet, the full version of which can be found in his book “The New Kid on the Block.”
Beets seem to bring out rather strong opinions in everyone. No one is ambivalent about the beet. Much like our current political climate, people seem to be either VERY for or VERY against the issue-du-jour. Moderates are as common as butter churns. We’ve all seen one, but it hasn’t been in use for a very long time.
The same can be said of beets. People either love ‘em or hate ‘em. Middle of the road positions are in short supply.
Me? I am that strange striped animal that once was one thing and is now another. Growing up I hated beets. To be fair I hated most vegetables because the standard cooking method in our house was “Boil till resembles mucous.” But even then, beets had a taste that has been described as “earthy” by many, and “dirt” by the less generous. These odd culinary additions to my childhood plate were deep-flavored, slippery, and almost unnatural as they shouted out in bright purple hues against my more sedate and introspective potatoes and gravy. So, along with green beans, spinach and asparagus, I added beets to the column of things I knew I didn’t like.
Fast forward 50 years, and I had managed to successfully avoid beets entirely. I’d almost forgotten they were there. Then. . . I became a vegetarian. The primary reason at the time was to learn how to eat more vegetables. I had long suspected that there was something in this food group I was missing (besides nutrients, flavors, and benefits of a diet with decreased fat content). I was convinced I might actually LIKE them if I explored new ways of preparing them.
Enter: the beet.
I have now come full circle and absolutely love beets, crave them in fact. I love the beet & goat cheese combination, beetroot salads, even a beet in a smoothie! But the all-time beet winner in the Tulsa area comes in the form of an amazing sandwich that can be had at Trencher’s Deli on south Harvard. The Beet Reuben Sandwich. I’m working on recreating this at home, but they do something mystical with their sauce, with all their sauces if I’m honest. In this sandwich, that previously questionable “earthiness” finds a home. Matched with a bit of sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and a slightly sweet tangy sauce, it blends these otherwise disparate flavors into magic. If you choose to visit, you may want to consider an off-time. This place is so very popular, you can find a line of 15 people waiting to order at lunchtime. You’ve been warned.
Perhaps it’s time you consider pulling out your own list of “Things I Do Not Eat” and revisiting them one by one, exploring the possibilities that were perhaps missed previously. Me? I’d suggest you start with a Ginger Beet Martini.
Editor’s Note: Check out Tulsa Vegan Guide for more Tulsa Restaurants.