Friday, October 28, 2011

What are they?

At Saturday's Food Bank I got stuck doing produce again. I say stuck, because there is not much work space. Last time I helped, I was first sorting onions, ditching bad ones, the rest put in a box. With no more boxes, or room on table or floor to put onion filled boxes, I started helping fill bags. They double up the grocery store plastic bags that are now banned in Long Beach. There was really no place to put the bags other than on top of a sorted onion box. Due to double bagging, it was hard, strange at that seems, to open them to put the onions inside.

From there the bags are passed on to another volunteer who adds whatever produce item she was adding, on to a third person. I was filling my bags faster than the lady next to me and there was no place for me to put more of them. Two long rectangle folding tables were placed behind where I stood. They were quickly being filled up with bags of canned goods being prepared by people on the other side of the room. I was able to put onion bags there, but the third or fourth person down my row doing produce was also filling it with produce bags.

Way down the end of my row a guy was chopping heads off celery, and likewise filling produce bags with some more people. It got crowded and a bit confusing. When we were basically out of onions and other stuff, more boxes of mixed produce arrive and filled our now mostly empty table; start filling more produce bags. Since we had used up most of the other stuff ~ like onions ~ there was less to put in the bags.

Will return to that subject later, so anyway this week I got stuck doing produce again. No huge bags of large, sweet, red onions this week. I was disappointed. Seldom buy onions, once a staple of my pantry, anymore. Never used this type, only the cheap, small brown onions; once in a while a Bermuda onion, sometimes scallions, especially when I had a garden.

There were huge bags of something. "What are they?" one of the ladies asked. I suggested rutabagas or maybe parsnips. A Google image search shows me I was way off on the parsnips. As luck would have it, I got one of the bags to take home that had the three of them pictured above. Later in the day Mike yelled for me, asking something about the Food Bank or telling me something about his which was on the same day.

Then Phil, walking by, joined the conversation and Mike left in a huff. I mentioned something about us ladies not knowing what they were. "Beets," says Phil, "it said it right on the bag." Du'oh moment fer sure.

Odd though, as I remember it, the reason I thought maybe parsnips because I swear the ones I was pulling from the bag as I sorted were not all round balls; they seemed to have long, thin, um, sprouts around the edges. My vegetable image search, now I am thinking the sprout-looking thingys were actually roots, perhaps, some of the beets grew so close together they became attached like Siamese twins.

I never liked beets. I force self to eat them, usually pickled beets I made myself. Not made with fresh beets; do not know if I ever had fresh beets; but from canned beets. I made a lot of pickled beets and eggs, because my ex loved them. I continued making them when we were no longer a couple because my kids liked them. So I would take a very few ~ know they are healthy ~ to mix with mashed potatoes when eating them.

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