Friday, June 11, 2010

The Great Del Monte Beet Fiasco

It's hot, I'm tired, and my brain is too fried to write a credible post, so I am making up a story. I warn you it'll be silly, off-the-cuff as it is. My writing workshop advisor gave us the assignment of writing a short story that focuses on something generic. I just opened my pantry and saw a can of beets. Here goes:

Gertrude Crumbottom was famous in Gewgaw County, Wisconsin, for her pickled eggs. The recipe, a closely guarded secret, had been in her family six generations. Old-timers still licked their lips when recalling Gert's mother's eggs -- always prize-winners at the State Fair. Gert herself had won a blue ribbon five years ago for her efforts. But since then the judge's tastes had begun to run towards things like chow-chow, or pickled okra, or cauliflower. Fact was, Gert's pickled eggs were in trouble, and she knew it. The secret ingredient to her eggs -- beets -- were unfortunately a vegetable unanimously disliked by a lot of people, specifically Gert's two sons, and thus, her daughters-in-law. If the boys wouldn't eat them, Carrie and Freda wouldn't either, and Gert knew the pickled eggs would end with her generation.

Gert couldn't bear to think about that. So she began a campaign to change her families' opinion of beets. She bought the most expensive, fresh, deeply purple beets she could find at local farmer's markets. The family turned their nose up at them. She then bought the most expensive canned beets she could find at the grocery, figuring they'd be more bland but still the best quality. Gert fixed beets for dinner, beets for lunch. She shredded them into whatever recipes she could, trying to disguise their shape and smell. She hoped to trick the family into eating them and liking it. She just had to save those pickled eggs for posterity.

Derrick and Daniel foiled her plan by the fourth day. Walking through the kitchen unexpectedly, Derrick spied a Del Monte can on the counter before Gert had time to sweep it into the trash can.
"Ma! I thought I've been smelling beets! For crying out -- you know we hate beets -- For -- Danny!" he bellowed in a high-pitched nasal whine.
'WHAT?" shouted Dan from the backyard, where he was tinkering with the rusting relic of a lawn-mower, his latest flea-market find.
"Ma's been feeden' us beets!" retorted Derrick, his nostrils enflamed in disgust.
"No way. Mom wouldn't do that," replied Dan, absently flicking black crud off the top of the gasoline valve.

Gert studied her fingernails, looking slightly mortified. Derrick stood over her, in silent aggrieved fury. When no one said any more, he turned on his heel to leave the kitchen, pointing a finger at his guilty mother and glancing at her ruby-stained hands.
"Blood on your hands," he sighed. "Now I know why I haven't been enjoying my food lately."
Gert shifted, leaning against the counter. "I just thought if I could make you boys like beets, the girls would be interested in my prize-winning pickled eggs..." Her voice trembled and trailed off with a small catch. "Is that such a bad thing?"
"Is it a bad thing the recipe dies with you?" Derrick demanded sharply.
"Hush, Der," said Dan, entering the kitchen, ever the peace-maker.


Doris Sturm said...

Is that the end? I expected more...I don't know if it's a bad thing the recipe dies with's about the eggs recipe anyways, not the beets...maybe she can reinvent the pickled eggs recipe using some other kind of food coloring...isn't that the only thing she uses the beets for? to color the pickle juice for the eggs? I guess it's a big thing to some, but for me, no it's no biggie....

Nice food for thought, though, even if not necessarily for eating ;-)

By the way, I LOVE beets!

The Urban Cowboy said...

I guess Dan saved the day...and the pickled eggs will live on!

zodiblog said...

Only you Amy… could make beets entertaining. I actually distress at her recipe dying with her. No recipe should ever die!

Scraps said...

Happy SITS Saturday Share-fest!

Maybe there's a young girl in town who she could "adopt" and leave her legacy to? A local Junior League cookbook she could will the recipe to upon her demise? Poor thing...

Enjoyed the story :)

Tony Single said...

More! More! :)