The Blessed Barba (Beet)

Seriously, all this food for under $7.00!  Hooray for souk!

Seriously, all this food for under $7.00?! Hooray for souk!

Thomas and I were talking the other day about beets, man.  That’s right, beets.  Or barba, if you want to use Darija (but not to be confused with the amazing 1970s children’s book character, Barbapapa). Anyway, we were going on and on about how much we enjoy eating beets in Morocco (yes, we have time for these types of conversations now). But seriously, there are a number of valid reasons this unassuming veggie has become such a staple of our diet: they are quite healthy, they are easy to prepare, they taste lovely cold (and we are eating mostly cold things now that the weather is getting hot), they are very versatile (add them to smoothies! Put them in salads!  Eat them in sandwiches!), and (perhaps most importantly) they really are the most gorgeous color a food could be.  Like jewels, I tell you!  They are also incredibly affordable here—about 40 cents per kilo.  Amazing!

Since moving into our own place, our beet consumption has become somewhat prolific.  I boil a batch of beets at least three times a week, season or marinate them in some sort of vinaigrette, and then we eat them with both lunch and dinner.  And yes, our pee is pink to prove it.  “But one cannot live on beets alone!” you may be thinking.  Yes, that’s true, which is why we also eat lots of other vegetables.  But there are almost always some beets to accompany them.

Today’s souk trip was quite a success–we found a gorgeous watermelon in addition to the standard veggies we buy each week.  All told, we bought 15 kilos of fruits and vegetables, and the total cost was under $7.00 US dollars.  Here’s the breakdown of today’s shopping trip:

OK, it's the same stuff, but from this angle you can see the beets, cucumbers, and peppers better.

OK, it’s the same stuff, but from this angle you can see the beets, cucumbers, and peppers better.  Do you see the beets?  They’re right there in the middle, patiently waiting to become a salad.  God bless ’em.

1 kilo oranges: 40 cents

3 kilo watermelon: $1.20

3 kilo honeydew melon: $1.60

2 kilos beets: 80 cents

1 kilo spring onions: 40 cents

1 kilo red onion: 40 cents

1 kilo zucchini: 40 cents

1 kilo carrots: 40 cents

1 kilo peppers: 40 cents

1 kilo cucumbers: 40 cents

Bunch of fresh mint: 10 cents

Lubia: While Bean and Tomato Stew.

Lubia: While Bean and Tomato Stew.  I should note that this pairs beautifully with a beet salad.  Just a suggestion.

Bunch of fresh shiba (a spice for tea): 15 cents

Tonight for dinner I am making lubia, a really lovely white bean and tomato stew, which I plan to serve at room temperature.  We will enjoy this main dish with some cucumber salad and some sparkling water.  Oh yeah, and some beets.  I can hardly wait!

To the beet!




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