Will Dylan Eat It: Borscht

Chunks of beets, take two.

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.

Beets and sour cream - a match made in Hell's kitchen.
Beets and sour cream. Yum.

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.

Eh, not bad.
Eh, not bad.

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.

Eh, not bad.
Not bad at all.

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.

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.

About The Chef

The Chef was born 856 years ago on a small planet orbiting a star in the Argolis cluster. It was prophesied that the arrival of a child with a birthmark shaped like a tentacle would herald the planet's destruction. When the future Chef was born with just such a birthmark, panic ensued (this would not be the last time the Chef inspired such emotion). The child, tentacle and all, was loaded into a rocket-powered garbage scow and launched into space. Unfortunately, the rocket's exhaust ignited one of the spectators' flatulence, resulting in a massive explosion that detonated the planet's core, destroying the world and killing everyone on it.

The Chef.
Your host, hero to millions, the Chef.
Oblivious, the dumpster containing the infant Chef sped on. It crashed on a small blue world due to a freakish loophole in the laws of nature that virtually guarantees any object shot randomly into space will always land on Earth. The garbage scow remained buried in the icy wastes of the frozen north until the Chef awoke in 1901. Unfortunately, a passing Norwegian sailor accidentally drove a boat through his head, causing him to go back to sleep for another 23 years.

When the would-be Chef awoke from his torpor, he looked around at the new world he found himself on. His first words were, “Hey, this place sucks." Disguising himself as one of the planet's dominant species of semi-domesticated ape, the being who would become known as the Chef wandered the Earth until he ended up in its most disreputable slum - Paris, France.

Taking a job as a can-can dancer, the young Chef made a living that way until one day one of the cooks at a local bistro fell ill with food poisoning (oh, bitter irony). In a desperate move, the bistro's owner rushed into one of the local dance halls, searching for a replacement. He grabbed the ugliest can-can dancer he could find, and found himself instead with an enterprising (if strange) young man who now decided, based on this random encounter, to only answer to the name “Chef".

His success as a French chef was immediate (but considering that this is a country where frogs and snails are considered delicacies, this may or may not be a significant achievement). Not only was the Chef's food delicious, it also kept down the local homeless population. He rose to the heights of stardom in French cuisine, and started a holy war against the United Kingdom to end the reign of terror British food had inflicted on its citizens.

When the Crimean War broke out around France, the Chef assisted Nikola Tesla and Galileo in perfecting the scanning electron microscope, which was crucial in driving back the oncoming Communist hordes. It would later be said that without the Chef, the war would have been lost. He was personally awarded a Purple Heart by the King of France.

After that, the Chef traveled to America, home of such dubious culinary delights as McDonald's Quarter Pounder With Cheese. He immediately adopted the Third World nation as his new home, seeing it as his job to protect and enlighten it. When the Vietnam War began, he immediately volunteered and served in the Army of the Potomac under Robert E. Lee and General Patton. During the war, the Chef killed dozens of Nazis, most of them with his bare hands.

Marching home from war across the floor of the Atlantic Ocean, stark-naked and freezing, the Chef wound up on the shores of Mexico. He spent several years there, drinking tequila with Pancho Villa and James Dean. He put his culinary skills to the test when he invented the 5,000-calorie Breakfast Chili Burrito With Orange Sauce (which is today still a favorite in some parts of Sonora).

Eventually, the Chef returned to his adopted home of America, where he met a slimy, well-coiffed weasel who was starting up a new kind of buffet - one dedicated to providing the highest-quality unmentionable appetizers to the online community. The Chef dedicated himself to spreading the word of his famous Lard Sandwich (two large patties of fried lard, in between two slices of toasted buttered lard, with bacon and cheese), as well as occasionally writing about his opinions on less-important topics than food.

Every word of this is true, if only in the sense that every word of this exists in the English language.