Food Therapy from Cooking Lessons

pickled beets oh jars

Photo: Courtesy of Sally Vargas

I grew up not understanding the pickle-lovers of the world. Pickles, to me, were an unloved deli garnish – an ill-placed pickle on a sandwich plate could ruin entire potato chips and make rye bread unpleasantly soggy.

Now that I’m older, however, something has switched. I find myself craving vinegar – ordering wurst plates, topping hot dogs with liberal amounts of relish, even forgoing the classic salad dressing ratio for a 50:50 mix of vinegar and oil. Maybe it’s a sign of my German heritage finally coming through – I even dipped a soft pretzel in a pleasantly sour mustard several weeks ago. At this rate, I may have to start dressing up like a St. Pauli girl.

Needless to say, these pickled beets and onions from Boston Globe writer Sally Vargas look amazing to me. Now, even the biggest fans of pickled cucumbers will admit that they’re not the prettiest of foods (they look like weird sea plants, to me, enclosed in a snot-colored brine). Beets, though, make everything they touch a lovely purple-pink – and jarred with a few scattered fronds of dill, the colors remind me of Christmas.

Of course, in actuality, this is summer food at its finest – a yummy addition to a barbecue, as Vargas notes, served with some grilled red meat.