With the initial cold taste-test over with, we moved on to phase two. As I noted earlier, the borscht sold in American supermarkets is the type usually served cold. We didn’t know that at the time, so we unknowingly committed a heresy against the food gods (as if the Nutella and banana sandwich wasn’t enough of a trespass against the culinary deities already) and warmed the stuff up in the microwave. And yes, the Chef was careful to cover the bowl with a paper towel, because that red shit will stain the inside of a microwave like nobody’s business. One of the side uses for beets, it turns out, is dyeing cloth (or Easter eggs) a bright pink. We were careful not to spill any on ourselves – beet stains are nigh-impossible to get out;like having the Chef as a house guest, you just can’t get rid of them.
After the borscht was warm, we could see the chunks of beets that had settled to the bottom of the bowl. It was quietly disturbing. Per the commonly-held wisdom about borscht, we tossed in a spoonful of sour cream to get the full Russian peasant experience. Truly, with this, we would understand what the people suffered through under the Soviet Union’s dark rule.
The truth is, it didn’t look that horrifying. The sour cream in the middle of the bowl actually added a touch of class to the whole affair. We weren’t just sampling gross-sounding stuff for some lameass web site. We were indulging in fine European dining.
This time, it was Jen’s turn to go first. She took a spoonful without too much hesitation. With a confused look on her face, she thought over just what this was she’d put in her mouth. Apparently, it really did just taste like beets and sour cream, an uncommon combination here in the Western Hemisphere, but not automatically a bad one. Dylan’s taste-test of the warmed borscht was somewhat similar…which was also, needless to say, disappointing, especially considering his earlier reaction to drinking it as beet-flavored Kool Aid.
Then, as usual, with the third participant, we hit the motherlode of reactions. Well, okay, maybe not the motherlode, but at least something marginally interesting compared to the others, which means this article might not be as boring as it otherwise would be (and let’s face it, you’re reading this to watch people throw up or at least gag a little bit). This wasn’t nearly as entertaining as throwing up or gagging, but at least it was something beyond the Maitre d’s unmistakable “meh”. When Drew’s turn came, he took a spoonful and gulped it down. Then he licked his lips and demanded more. In fact, he grabbed the bowl and…
He ate the whole thing.
And so another “Will Dylan Eat It?” experiment ends in total failure. Not only will Dylan indeed eat it, but so will other people. And not only did they eat it, but they didn’t hate it nearly enough to justify borscht’s reputation. Maybe the horrific image of borscht we have in our heads is nothing but the result of capitalist propaganda spread during the years of the Cold War as a means of belittling their opponents. It’s Reagan’s fault.