Beet the Heat

I spent the first 18 years of my life in Houston, Texas, a place best described with its leading letter: Hot, Humid, and Huge. The next 5 were passed in Austin, a capital soaked in beer and sun. With 23 years of blood thinning behind me, I thought I’d have no trouble at all with New York’s mid-calendar season.

How very wrong I was.

We all have things we take for granted – things whose significance we’re even unaware of. Big things, which, when removed, upset the gravitational pull of our personal planets, uprooting our lives and acid raining all over everything.

As it turns out, central air conditioning is my heretofore-taken-for-granted planetary gravity.

It all began one day in early May. Noah and I were sitting in our sweltering living room (read: the only room in our studio apartment,) trying, in vain, to  get a bit of work done as our un-conditioned air climbed toward 90 degrees. Thanks to my melting brain, productivity was at a spectacular low, and I found myself wondering how much trouble I’d be in if I took a quick jaunt up the street and camped out in the lobby of Tina Fey’s building.

I tried to soldier on, but the air was suffocating and the task uninspired, so I peeked over my computer for a respite from both. We’d gone shopping the previous day, and the trip sent me a shock of inspiration:

“Hey, wanna juice?” I asked.
“Yep,” Noah said.

Noah opened the fridge (it was so lovely and cold, I could have cried) and began piling produce onto our wee counter. Last, Noah pulled out the beets.

I have limited experience with beets. I think I ate them in a salad once? But I was about to meet my newest obsession.

Noah sliced into the first hairy bulb, and my jaw dropped. “IT’S BEAUTIFUL.”

And it was. Turns out, beets are rapturous things. They have spidery veins, amusingly hairy skin, and the colors are brilliant. To cap it all, my fingers were stained a violent magenta within moments of chopping: It was truly gory true glory, my friends. The experience practically demands that you grasp your beet-bloody hand and enact a rendition of Lady M’s famous speech.

And the carnage doesn’t stop there: next comes the alarmingly satisfying experience of running produce through a juicer. I say alarming, because juicers are violent. Downright brutal. And it’s enjoyable. But the truest pleasure of this juicing journey was the stuff itself: Lovely, bright, and nutrient-rich, the magenta brew rocketed onto my All Time Favorites list before I’d even tasted it.


Here is what we pulverized on that dazzling May day:

3 beets and their greens
2 Granny Smith apples
1 lemon
2 sticks of celery
5 carrots
1 inch of ginger

The beet juice was beautiful and cool, and it tasted even better than it looked. Though we now have a friendly, heaven-sent A/C unit in our window, this colorful concoction remains one of my favorite ways to complement a sweltering summer day, and I hope each of you gets to experience its ruby depths before the season’s out.


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