How Beets Make a Year Special: The Final Word on End-of-the-Year Review

by Judy Stone-Goldman on December 31, 2010

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Beautiful beets (the greens are edible, too)

As 2010 wanes, I wish to speak about beets. They are my best new vegetable of this year.

I never ate beets before this year. They were not something in my family’s food repertoire when I was growing up, and I pictured them slithering out of a can with an ugly label. Since I eat canned vegetables only after an earthquake or some such emergency, I had no use for them. Beets were not for me.

I’m not sure what triggered the idea that we should try beets. My husband was as unfamiliar with them as I. Perhaps he read something about them on-line, perhaps he learned about golden beets or specialty beets or baby beets. But between the two of us, an idea was born: we should try beets.

Cooked beets are serious. In color they are a combination of purple and red, and their liquid is bright and blood-like. They demand respect and careful serving (because they splatter everywhere).

Cooked beets: who would imagine how good they are?

As it turns out, beets are also delicious.


After one meal, beets officially became my best new vegetable of the year. Last year the best new vegetable was bok choy in several varieties (baby bok choy and choy sum), and the year before gailon, which is a variety of Chinese brocolli. I firmly believe every year should have a best new  vegetable.

So as you are closing out the year and putting the seal on your end-of-year review, give yourself some time to have fun and think about the year in a different way (make up your own categories):

  • a best new vegetable or recipe
  • a purchase that made a difference (my Ryn shoes, which make my back feel so good!)
  • your favorite moment in any television show or movie (mine was actually on a DVD of a television show: the moment in Battlestar Galactica when four of the final five Cylons are revealed…haven’t finished the series yet, so no spoilers please!)
  • your best cultural or entertainment experience (Picasso exhibit for me, hands down!)
  • an unexpected new experience (ordering from AmazonFresh, which we tried because of a tie-in to wonderful the charity Hopelink)

It’s easy to remember a year for the standout events, the gratifying successes or the dismaying failures, the memorable vacations and big family events. But the little stuff counts too–all those minor moments and smells and tastes and moods and anecdotes that fill the spaces of ordinary life. So before the party starts, before horns blare and fireworks explode, before you join in with hoots and hollers and kisses, take a moment to to honor whatever is small and special about this year.

As for me, I’m going to start peeling some beets. They are the vegetable of honor for our New Year’s Eve dinner.

The first step in cooking beets: cut off the ends (then peel them)

Questions for Reflection: What were your new favorites this year? How about special under-the-radar moments? What categories can you think of to capture your life in a different way?

Writing Prompts: “The new things I tried this year were ______” (make a list of all you can think of); “It may seem silly, but this year was really important for ______” (write about something you might not have thought of); “It was a really big deal this year for me to _____” (then keep writing).

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Gayle M January 6, 2011 at 8:37 pm

Judy, no one responded to beets?? I was away, as you know, but I did see the post and have now stopped by for proper read. I grew up with beets: sometimes canned, sometimes fresh, sometimes my grandmother’s pickled red beet eggs (peeled, hard-cooked eggs pickled in a jar of beet juice and vinegar – it’s a Pennsylvania Dutch thing; the egg whites turn a deep mauve; it was acquired taste as a child, but they were a temptingly pretty food). Now I buy them fresh during the summer at the farmer’s market, and I like trying all the varieties.
Excellent plan to make a list of the year’s ‘bests’, and a fun way to think of what 2011 might bring.


Judy Stone-Goldman
January 7, 2011 at 7:48 am

Bless you, Gayle, for responding to beets! I probably burned people out with so many New Year’s themed posts! The only response was on Facebook, where someone basically said “Ewwwww” to beets. But clearly you and I know the truth, although you obviously are much more diverse in experience. Welcome home! So glad you found my beets post. 🙂


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