Ruchikala (The Art of Taste)

Indian Fusion Cuisine in Portland and Tucson

“Lousy Beetniks”


 Beety mc beetface

Hey there little guys!  It’s so nice to see you!  I see you’ve shed your tin shell – It’s a good look.   I know there are people out there that continue to talk smack about you – and sure, it probably doesn’t hurt as bad as it did before this hip food revolution.  Snickering is now firmly relegated to the wrinkly-faced school children scoffing at the weird foreign kid sitting with their awkward lunch pail stuffed with the juicy shirt staining tubers.  But now – you’re cool, just like all those weird green crayon eating skinny kids that picked up guitars in middle school and won the hearts of college aged girls eight years later with their rehashed garage-rock and fitted plaid shirts. You’ve come back to see us –  Roasted in artisanal salads and pureed into remixed beet cake videos, you’ve found your niche.  Foodistas couldn’t be happier. CSAs are swimming in celebration.   It’s the beet spring! 


So I guess I was that weird foreign kid – eating beets in the cafeteria while everyone else was downing Sysco taco salads and happily assembling their Lunchables.   Beets were my absolute favorite vegetable growing up, I’d request them ad nauseam.  Unbeknownst to me the children of my generation had proclaimed beet consumption to be the leading cause of “cooties”.   I never quite understood where all the hostility came from until one day in my late teens, I had lunch a friend’s house.   My friend’s mother was helping herself to a plate of salad when my friend mentioned “Hey – Kumi totally eats those nasty beet things you like, Mom”.   This seemed to win me points with the mom (man- am I sucker for parental gold-star points) The soccer mom joyfully offered me unlimited access to red globules sitting in solution of apathy encased in a death capsule of some sort.

Bomb shelter fare for the suicidal among us!

Man alive.  I swallowed them whole and forced a smile to continue to be on the receiving end of American mom praise.   I was finally made peace with my quiet beat lust shame.  It all finally made sense where all the beet animosity came from.   Not everyone got fresh beautifully diced chili and mustard oil specimens that coated basmati rice with that gorgeous burgundy-pink glaze and left a thin trail of hing/florescent yellow turmeric oil at the bottom of the finished plate.  Some people’s only introduction to beet had been the hate soaked variety.

I’m gonna give you the low-down, the  South Indian beet down is the mother of all Beat downs.

Speaking of mothers – God bless mine for saving me from the skeezy world of canned beets.  This is more or less an easy rendition of the recipe used to make this awesome beet salad (recipe soon to follow).


The South Indian Beet Salad

Beet your heart out (ya, I said it)




2 comments on ““Lousy Beetniks”

  1. E.
    January 31, 2012

    Beets soaked in hate! I know! The poor things have had their reputation almost completely destroyed. My beet story is similar to yours — I always liked beets because I didn’t experience the canned variety until I was in my 20’s. Great post. Please include instructions for the chili/mustard oil/turmeric beet dish soon — I’m getting hungry.

    • Ruchikala
      January 31, 2012

      E! I am so glad you had a parallel early to fresh beet/late to canned experience! I was having a hard time navigating my morning, so a sincere thank you for the beet motivation. I think I’ll go pick up some beets and work on that recipe today.

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This entry was posted on January 27, 2012 by in Uncategorized.
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