Food Snark

Beets and Borscht: Eastern European Treats

June 27, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

This article was written by Phineas Upham

Borscht is made primarily from beets, and it’s a soup that can be served either hot or cold. It is an Eastern European dish that has found moderate popularity elsewhere in the world. Ukranians consider it their national soup, and have a firm belief that they were the origin for the dish. Ukranians not only adore the soup, they have more varieties available in their country than anywhere else in the world.

It was not considered a royal dish, not even fit for royal servants, and the original recipe called for a cow parsnip as the base ingredient. The beet was eventually added as an ingredient before becoming the primary dish. Early versions consisted mostly of the beet juice cooked in egg yolks and cream.

Today’s borscht recipes haven’t changed much. Beets are still the primary ingredient, though meat is added depending on the tastes of the chef. Sour cream is another component to the dish that has existed for centuries.

All beets descended from the same general species, which has most likely been around since prehistory. Beet comes from the Latin word “beta,” which became “bête” in Middle English. We know it’s been around since ancient Greece, and it’s likely that they reached Europe through Roman conquests. Initially, beets were lighter in color. The red beet changed everything, and got cooks at the time enthusiastic about cooking with the colorful vegetable. After a stirring review in 1633 by Gerard, the beet became a dinner time staple.

About the Author: Phineas Upham is an investor at a family office/hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phineas Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Phineas on his Twitter page.

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