May 7, 2011

Giant Beetroot

The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent not of passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious.

Slavic peoples get their physical characteristics from potatoes, their smoldering inquietude from radishes, their seriousness from beets.

The beet is the melancholy vegetable, the one most willing to suffer. You can't squeeze blood out of a turnip...

The beet is the murderer returned to the scene of the crime. The beet is what happens when the cherry finishes with the carrot. The beet is the ancient ancestor of the autumn moon, bearded, buried, all but fossilized; the dark green sails of the grounded moon-boat stitched with veins of primordial plasma; the kite string that once connected the moon to the Earth now a muddy whisker drilling desperately for rubies.

The beet was Rasputin's favorite vegetable. You could see it in his eyes.
- Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume (possibly his best work)

Martincourt, France
1917

8 comments:

Ms. Moon said...

Sigh. When Tom was writing good, no one was better. Thanks for reminding me. Time to revisit some vintage Robbins.
This passage is one of the best of the best of all the best.

downtown guy said...

Nothing else could have gone with that picture.

A said...

I eat yellow beets all the time. Like Flaubert.

downtown guy said...

You know, I have never read any Flaubert. But I have eaten approximately a ton of beets.

Steph(anie) said...

Being one quarter slavic myself, I do appreciate some smoldering inquietude and seriousness.

downtown guy said...

But how do you feel about beets?

Steph(anie) said...

Um... I have to confess that I don't think I've ever had one. They're those scary dark red things at the salad bar, right?

downtown guy said...

Yep, those. You should get a jar of pickled beets and see if you like them.