Piquant Beets

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You'll find this recipe in:
The Chatelaine Cookbook
Toronto, 1965
By: Elaine Collett
Edited by: Mary-Etta Macpherson


3 slices side bacon, diced
2 tsp prepared horseradish
2 tsp honey
2 tsp lemon juice
4 cups sliced cooked beets
½ tsp salt

Sauté bacon in saucepan until crisp. Turn heat low and add next three ingredients. Stir in beets, sprinkle with salt, cover; let heat thoroughly. Serves 8.

My thoughts:
To cook the beets, I sliced off the ends and boiled in a pot of water. Begin this process well in advance, because it took 1 hour and 15 minutes until the beets were cooked. After I drained them, I submerged them in cold water until they were cool enough to handle and they were easy to peel and slice. For those of you who are accustomed to measuring beets by weight, 4 cups of cooked and sliced beets amounts to 650 g.

I did ere on the side of accuracy and initially only added the 3 slices of diced bacon in the recipe. It was good, but I have to admit that as I was eating the beets, I did sprinkle more bacon on top and it was even better.

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I'm not a fan of the taste of beets, although I have evolved enough to abide roasted and pickled beets on occasion. I liked Piquant Beets, though, and I can't say that I've ever thought that about a recipe made with boiled beets! This recipe takes those (in my mind at least) repulsive boiled beets and jazzes them up with horseradish, honey, lemon juice and...wait for it...bacon. Steve's response to tasting this dish was, "I don't even mind the beets", which is probably the highest praise he could give to this recipe.

We can thank Elaine Collett and Mary-Etta Macpherson, who compiled the 1965 Canadian classic The Chatelaine Cookbook, for this culinary miracle. Chatelaine magazine is a Canadian woman's magazine that began publication in 1928, and is still a top magazine in Canada today. The book jacket explains that the editors narrowed down the contents of the book to roughly 1600 recipes from the over 10, 000 recipes that appeared in Chatelaine in its firsts 30 years of publication.

In her Introduction, Elaine Collett credits the collective effort responsible for the cookbook: "The old saying 'Too many cooks spoil the broth' just must be wrong. Because this first (and only) CHATELAINE Cookbook is the work of hundreds of Canadian cooks. For over thirty years in our CHATELAINE Institute kitchens we have created recipes for the homemakers of Canada and we have been guided in our planning by your letters, your questions and by the recipes you have shared with us year by year in our Family Favourites Recipe Contests."

I lucked out and found my copy at my favourite place to find vintage cookbooks in Hamilton, Bibles for Missions Thrift Store. I was lucky because not only is my copy in great condition, but it has the first owner's name and address written inside, and also came along with bonus newspaper clippings and handwritten recipes, as well as a bandaid and a plastic bag that must have been used as bookmarks. It's a treasure trove!

I have enough ideas for blog posts to tide me over until sometime in 2020 right now, but you know you're going to see at least one of those clipped and handwritten recipes on here at some point.

Want to read more?

  • Read the latest from Chatelaine Magazine: https://www.chatelaine.com/

  • The Special Collections & Archives at the University of Waterloo (my alma mater) has a blog post with a succinct summary of the editorial focus of the magazine over the years and some scans from a 1971 edition of Chatelaine.

  • There's a book written by Valerie J. Korinek about this era of the magazine called Roughing it in the Suburbs: Reading Chatelaine Magazine in the Fifties and Sixties

  • I normally link to digitally-archived copy of the featured cookbook so you're able to read the book yourself, but I couldn't find one this time around. Let me know if you know where to find a scanned copy online – I'd love to link to it