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Borscht to Beet Stress*

*Okay, it’s a horrible pun. But I”m an English teacher.  We’re genetically programmed to come up with groaners like that. 

[Don’t forget you can still enter the Reader’s Choice Cookbook Giveaway until Tuesday! And the SOS Kitchen Challenge, hosted by Kim and me (and featuring prizes from each of us!), will continue until the end of the month. This month’s ingredient is sweet potatoes.]

[Sorry about the bad lighting. . . by the time I got this photo, the sun–and the HH’s car–were long gone.]

Hope those of you who celebrated had a great Thanksgiving yesterday.  And for the rest of you–hope it was a great Thursday!

Well, we had quite a bit of excitement here in the DDD household while all you Americans were feasting on (perhaps) too much food and (definitely) too much football,* which is why I missed my usual MoFo post.  Allow me to fill you in. 

It was 8:37 AM and I was getting ready for a day of student appointments.  I’d almost finished my morning smoothie (berries, kale, dandelion, beet, lemon, Sun Warrior and one garlic clove to stave off a cold that’s been threatening to erupt) when the phone rang.  A quick glance at the call display revealed a name I didn’t recognize–wrong number or telemarketer.  Neither one, I decided, was worth answering, as I was running a little late (gee, what a surprise) and wanted to finish eating, pack up my books, and go. 

Knowing I’d be gone all day, I began to pack up an ACD-friendly lunch as well (my daily routine does seem to revolve a little too heavily around food, doesn’t it?).  I was spooning leftover Butternut Tahini salad from a couple of days before into a container when the phone rang again (8:52 AM).  Another unfamiliar name!  With my first meeting set up for 9:30, I knew I’d have to get out of the house tout suite to make it on time.  But something about getting calls from two wrong numbers in such a short time span–a rarity, to be sure–drew me back to the phone.  I picked it up and was surprised to hear the familiar beep, beep, beep indicating a message waiting.

Well, you can imagine my astonishment** when I punched in the password, only to hear the HH ‘s voice on the other end!

In a nutshell, he’d been in a major car accident and his car was totalled.  Apparently, another driver had rammed the side of his car so hard that he went spinning across two lanes of traffic (the stream of which was headed in the opposite direction), up over a sidewalk onto the front lawn of a bank, sliding to a stop less than a foot (30 mm) from the bank’s picture window.  Almost unbelievably, he (as well as the two young women in the car that hit him, plus the woman in the car he inadvertently hit while skidding across the street) were all relatively unharmed (one woman suffered a split lip, but that was the extent of the physical damage).   Another bit of luck was that he had just dropped off The Girls at doggie daycare moments before (since we had both planned to be out of the house all day); otherwise, they would have been in the back seat and could have been easily thrown through the windshield.

After racing out to pick him up and then spending the day in negotiations with insurance adjusters, the towing company and the car rental place, we settled down yesterday evening to a quiet dinner.  Clearly, comfort food was in order.  The HH selected pasta carbonara from the freezer, but I craved something a little more earthy. 

Even though I hated beets as a kid, they now rate as one of my favorite comforts.  Bulbous and deeply hued, their color reflects their contributions to one’s health as well, since beets are both blood cleansers and toners of the liver (not to mention a great source of minerals and fiber).  I needed something that would leave my body more nourished, perhaps slightly detoxed of all the negative vibes from the day, and happily satisfied in the saporosity department.  Borscht seemed just the ticket.

This is a recipe I adapted from Nava Atlas’s classic cookbook, Vegetariana.   I love that she adds an apple in the soup.  I’ve also included some cabbage, partly because we had it on hand, and partly because cabbage soothes the digestive tract. . . so even when faced with a day as stressful as the one I had yesterday, it won’t encourage any ulcers to take up residence in my duodenum.

The soup was just what I needed: warming, slurpy, soothing, nutritive. Like most homemade soups, the flavor intensified as I reached the bottom of the bowl, prompting me to ladle out a second bowlful.  It really did help calm and comfort me.

After a consoling dinner, the HH and I settled in to watch an old episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm–we figured we’d earned a few laughs after the day we’d shared.

Mum, we’re glad that Dad is all right and it’s horrible that the car was towed. But, um. . . do you think maybe he managed to salvage that bag of treats he kept in the glove compartment for us. . . ??”

[Luckily, borscht only looks like blood–but we didn’t see any of the real stuff all day.]

* I suppose that’s rather presumptuous of me to suggest that you may have eaten too much, isn’t it?  Then again, it’s the holidays!  As for football, though, I know I’m right about that, since any football at all is too much. 😉

**Astonishment (I): the HH never calls me (so of course I would would never have thought it was him).  He absolutely loathes talking on the phone. When we were dating, he moved house once and didn’t get in touch for over two weeks, leaving me not knowing his new address or phone number (one reason why we broke up–the first time).  Nowadays, after 14 years together, he still doesn’t call me: we speak once a day only because I pester him at work. 

**Astonishment (II):  the HH does not own a cell phone (see above). Naturally, I didn’t recognize the names on the call display, because he had to borrow someone else’s cell phone to call me each time.  Hearing his voice when I expected a stranger’s sure was jarring, let me tell you. (Oh, and I have a pretty good idea of what I’m getting him for Christmas now).

Last Year at this Time: Lucky Comestible 6(5): Giant Baked Upside Down Apple Pancake

Two Years Ago: Extreme Meme, An Award, and an Injury: Some Non-Food Tidbits

Three Years Ago: I’m Not Pregnant, Just Fat

© 2010 Diet, Dessert and Dogs


34 comments to Borscht to Beet Stress*

  • What a terrible accident! I am so glad the HH and all others involved were ok. It makes you remember just how driving a car (or even breathing) can be russian ruoulette! Hope it doesn’t take much to get his car replaced. And glad beets were a comfort to you – looks like a lovely soup!


  • Oh, I’m sorry to hear about the accident! But I’m also glad that the HH wasn’t hurt.

    The soup looks delicious! I was actually craving warm soup today.


  • Thank goodness HH (and the girls and the others involved) were not injured!


  • K

    Oh my! I am so glad to hear that nobody was injured and sorry for all the hassle that is involved in dealing with car accidents. Take it easy and enjoy more soup (or pasta). 🙂
    P.S. That is a much better excuse for missing a MoFo posting than my “I have been awfully busy”! 😉


  • gosh, how scary. I’m so glad the doggies and HH and other folks are all well. Incidents like that remind us how fragile life is! Take care and do lots of snuggling!


  • Gopika

    I thought you were leading up to say that “Ellen” had called to book you on the show. What a shock to hear of your husband’s accident. Very glad to hear he is unhurt and your dogs had already been dropped off.

    Watch your husband for any after-effects because his body, while visibly ok, still took a beating.

    Interesting recipe. I’m surprised that even with the sweetness of the organic carrots and beets, you still added stevia. Were these veggies not sweet without the stevia? Does the soup taste sweet with it?


  • T.

    What a relief it must have been that no one was badly hurt!

    Soup is almost (but only almost) as soothing as tea, isn’t it? My mother used to add ketchup to borscht to make it more palatable to us kids; I wouldn’t dream of it now. Cabbage, however, is necessary. Must try adding apple next time, thanks for the tip.


  • Thank goodness he’s okay! That must’ve been so stressful for all of you! Do you teach English right now? I taught high school English for 8 years before babies took over!


  • oh my goodness, Ricki – i’m so glad everyone was okay! that’s so scary, and thank goodness the girls weren’t in the car! everyone is lucky to be alright. oh my!

    you can make all the puns you like, my friend! while i am not an english teacher, i do have a degree in english – so bring ’em on! my day revolves around food, too – glad i’m not the only one. ah ha ha! somedays i think i’m downright obsessed, but i figure it could be worse or somethin’, right?! i guess there are worse things to be obsessed with, is what i’m thinking…..or convincing myself of…..ha!

    for as much as i sooooo super love beets i’ve never had a borscht before. which is funny to me on another level because my mother’s side is polish and i feel like i should have enjoyed some by now. yours looks lovely, sounds fantastical, and i bet it’s crazy comforting. awesome all around!


  • Wow, what a shocker. So glad that HH and Elsie and Chaser are all OK. You are so wise to preemptively treat yourself with soothing foods. I had several nasty bouts of those ulcers many years ago and that is something you would definitely prefer to avoid.


  • So glad everyone is okay! Nothing like a comfort food meal to cheer everyone up. 🙂


  • Oh my! I’m glad everyone was unharmed, and that the girls were not in the car. Thank goodness!

    Beets are also one of my faves, but I always eat them plain — I have never had borscht or anything made with beets, really. Odd, isn’t it.


  • Ricki! How scary! I am so so glad that he is okay now. So sorry that happened. But so very very grateful that the girls were not in the car.
    And on the note of the borscht…yum! My Father-in-law loves it so we eat it a lot over at their house!
    I hope you hubby is not too sore this weekend. I do agree that a cell phone may make a great holiday present! 😉


  • Ricki,

    Thank God that your HH , girls, and everyone else were safe! I would say from the way you described it was a miracle no less!



  • I am so glad to hear the HH is well! Sorry about the car though.


  • Oh my goodness! Thank heavens everyone is okay!


  • Thanks, everyone, for all the good wishes. Thursday was pretty harrowing, but since then it’s just been frustrating dealing with insurance! We’re having a quiet weekend. Hugs to you all! 🙂


  • Krista

    I’m so glad to hear every one was ok!


  • Well, that’s the best excuse I’ve ever heard for missing a mofo post. Seriously, I’m so glad no one was badly injured in the crash — it sounds so severe that anything could have happened. HH should definitely stay alert for whiplash, which might not surface immediately. What an awful experience for you both; hope you’ve had a chance to recover your calm, and good luck with the insurance.


  • Hayley

    That must have been a scare! I’m sorry to hear about this, but I’m so glad to hear that the HH is okay. That is the most important thing. At least you are all safe and cozy, enjoying your comfort food 😉


  • Kelly Michelle

    Oh my goodness, how horrible. I am so glad everyone involved is okay.


  • Glad the HH was ok – so sorry to hear it has been a stressful few days for you all.


  • Oh how scary! I’m so glad that HH and everyone else was OK…. and that the kiddos were not in the car.. We had an accident on one of our highways a couple months ago and one dog ran off … fortunately they were able to find the dog several days later…

    Your soup looks delicious.


  • I’m so happy to hear everyone involved in the crash were okay! Lucky also that your dogs were no longer in the car.

    My dog HATED the seatbelt – he preferred to be able to change from one side of the backseat to the other, or to lie on his back – but knowing how heavy a dog becomes even in a crash on slow speed, I always put the seatbelt (a dog seabelt, of course ;)) on him. I’m lucky to never have been involved in a crash, though!

    Your borsch looks great and warming. 🙂


  • Your borscht looks great, and I’m glad your husband was okay!


  • Thank Goodness everyone was okay, physically speaking! Sometimes unbelievable things just happen in our lives and leaves us with a great dose of emotional stress to deal with. I usually feel so tired after these kind of situations, it’s like I haven’t been sleeping for days.
    Soup is one of my comfort foods (the other one is noodles), is something very traditional here, in every Portuguese household: there is always a big pot of soup ready to be eaten. Sometimes dinner is just the soup and some fruit, or a light dessert. Sometimes they are authentic meals, for example Red beans soup takes in red beans, noodles, cabbage, turnip, carrots in a vegetable stock made of squash, onions and garlic. It’s very feeling, appropriate for this time of the year.
    Yours looks delicious, I’ll give it a try for sure!



    Susana M. Reply:

    where is ‘feeling’ it should be ‘filling’ 🙂 :), my mind thinks one thing, my fingers type another. It happens often (sometimes unfortunately)! 😉


  • Rachel

    Finally I have to comment after ‘lurking’ on your blog for ages. I have your ACD ebooks and use them all the time to make delicious treats for family and friends to great success.
    Last night I made your borsht too, and it was amazing. I added some cider vinegar as I am no longer on the ACD, though after 4 months of eating that way strictly, you recipes are perfect and delicious-thank you!

    Sorry to read about the accident! glad everyone is ok.


  • Wow, what an accident!! So glad the story ends well!

    My experience with beets is minimal, but I see us getting well acquainted in the future. 🙂


  • Thank you, everyone! I really appreciate all your kind comments and support. The HH is doing fine. . . I think I was more traumatized than he was! And thankfully, The Girls are totally oblivious. . . 😉


  • oh my, i’m so glad the HH is ok! and the girls! such a trying day, i’m sure. this looks great, and whaddya know i have some beets at home that need using 🙂


  • I’m so glad no one was hurt in the accident! Thanks also for the reminder to dig Vegetariana out from the back of my cookbook shelf, where it’s been hiding too long! (Check out that apostrophe usage, eh?)


  • I’m so glad the HH and the Girls are OK! That must have been so scary! I’m with the HH – I loathe phones and do not own a cell phone.


  • I love beets but have never tried making borscht at home! I need to fix that. The apples and carrots in it sound really good! I hope your husband is okay and didn’t have any permanent damage from the accident.


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