My Childhood Hatred of Beets Robbed Me of My Dream To Play Professional Baseball
When I was in elementary school our menu was extremely one-dimensional, relying on a handful of staples rotated throughout the week in a failed attempt to keep things fresh. We did not eat well. Fish sticks were prominent, and I remember watching in disgust as some of the other kids at my table slathered them with absurd amounts of ketchup so they could choke them down. And every Thursday was pizza day.
I'll never forget the Thursday menu, which was not-so-carefully portioned into a partitioned Styrofoam tray. A small rectangle of flaccid, bready pizza sat in the large rectangular quadrant. Canned corn and a small cardboard container of milk had their own sections, too. And in the little partition directly adjacent to the pizza, which I thought was so great before I learned that it wasn't, sat the arch nemesis of my entire epicurean childhood: canned red beets.
The little ridge that separated the beets from the rest of my lunch was laughable. The levee always failed and my pizza would inevitably absorb the distasteful beet juice, staining the crust and unsightly neon-magenta. I'd plead with the lunch lady to not destroy my day with her sloppy beet juice, but rules are rules. Every tray must leave the lunch line saddled with beets. I could never touch the pizza.
Esquire's Eat Like a Man blog illuminates the dire consequences of my beet protest with a recent article. I now know why I never lived my dream to become a professional athlete: it turns out beets are really good for you. They're loaded not just with antioxidants but nitrates which apparently help your muscles use oxygen more efficiently.
The article extols the virtues of beet juice -- claiming athletes have shown a 16 percent performance boost after downing a half-liter of the stuff -- but beets are beets. I'll take mine like chef Ryan Carbery does his at Nosh: roasted beets till sweet and served with with Texas goat cheese candied pecans and baby arugula.
Someone call up the Rangers. I'm on my way.