Monday, May 30, 2011

Aussie Girl

It's happened. Time after time, I've been setting out plates of beets when we throw burgers on the grill at our country place.

Not locally grown, organic beets carefully and gently roasted in the oven with garlic, and sea salt, and expensive Spanish olive oil. Nope. Just sliced beets from a can. The kind Australians use on their burgers. That's right, order a burger in Australia and someone will throw a slice of canned beet on it and expect you to eat it.

I was a non-believer that first time. I stared at the plate. I stared at the burger. I wasn't sure about this thing pinking up my hamburger bun. But after a run-of-the-mill, but also kinda-awesome burger at Taronga Zoo in Sydney, I was converted. A burger at a mediocre cafeteria changed me forever. I haven't looked back. Now, I have a pantry stacked with small cans of sliced beets and I never grill a burger for myself or David without piling a few beets, onions, tomatoes, greens and ketchup on top.

Lucy, like pretty much all Americans, was also a non-believer. Who wants a vegetable on their burger? A vegetable when it isn't actually necessary to eat a vegetable with your burger? Why chance it? Why not just ignore the plate of beets into oblivion? Why chance having your pee turn pink?

All good questions.

It took me years. Just putting beets out there on the table, pushing the plate a little closer to her, getting her interested, seducing her with my stories of pink pee. Once, I even told her they were sweet, like candy, on your burger. I'm pretty sure she thought I was drunk.

But this Spring it happened. When she was ready - Lucy does everything on her own time, in her own way. She grabbed a slice of beet and shoved it between her burger and bun.

Then she smushed it all together to make a "squeeze burger", which is just a burger compressed to it's maximum in the hands of a kinder-gardener. She's famous for it in the school cafeteria. It's a culinary marvel.

And she loved it. Just as I did. Just as David has his whole life. The three of us eat our burgers with beets now. (Edie is still a hold out, as expected) But what Lucy always asks, as she's eating her burger, all pink-stained and smushed down into its most compact form, is whether the act of eating it makes her an "Australian girl".

And we think it does.

xo YM



Nuts about food said...

The idea of beets in hamburgers actually sounds delicious to me, even if I had never heard of it before. I am sure David is a proud father. I know I am proud when my Italian daughter here in Italy does something really American.

Janis said...

I will have to try this but at my age when I see my pee is pink I will forget it was the beets I ate and will end up in urgent care.

Nathan Pralle said...

Wifey is Aussie and this was something that was presented to me along with a "cold Christmas", the first summertime Christmas meal in Oz I ever had, where only cold salads and meats were served in the 115+ heat.

Fortunately for me, not only were the beets wonderful but they fit beautifully into the meal on the sandwiches and burgers in a way that I had no idea about before. We finally found a good recipe for them, too, so now I can beets every year for our use in Aussie style. :)

tori said...

As an 'Aussie Girl' living on the other side of the world, I can't tell you how much this post made me think of Sydney- and desperately crave a proper burger. I think that's what we need to have for dinner tonight. If only we had some Coopers to drink and had sand from Bondi stuck between our toes, all would be perfect.

The Vanilla Bean Baker said...

Well, doesn't this just beet all!

Nmaha said...

We eat beets with all our food, especially our falafels, so I can guess how yummy that beet burger must be.

The Yummy Mummy said...

Nathan & Tori -

I cannot wait to have a "cold Christmas". We haven't been there over the holidays yet. Love the idea of fresh, cold, tasting-of-the-sea shellfish for Christmas dinner...and that Bondi sand in your toes thing, Tori. Swoon.

You all make me homesick and I'm not even from there. Love Australia and Australians.


Nic said...

It took me a while to get used to beetroot on burgers, but I like it now. I just cannot get my head round chicken salt, and don't think I'll ever embrace that one!

Rita said...

I've never had beets on a burger before, but would be willing to try it. I bet pickled beets might be good to use as well. BTW Kim, was just sorting through some old photos and found one taken in 1996 of you, your mom and me!! You look about 16, your mom looks the same and well, it was a bad hair day for me. LOL xxxRita

CookiePie said...

Love this post! Love the idea of beets on burgers (maybe I'm weird, but that sounds delicious to me), and love that you just kept offering it and offering it, and eventually she tried it in her own time. A good lesson for the rest of us!

Cheryl Arkison said...

Hmmm.... Not sure I'll ever make it to Australia in my life and now I'm not sure I want to. Beets? Really?
What the hell? I'll try anything. And anything for you, Kim.

Science Toys said...

Good eating of burgers and beets you have there for your little girl! I love Australian burgers :-)