Beet Soup with Chinese Spices

My first memory of beets was at one of my Aunt Laura’s epic Sunday lunches.  She would serve many different vegetables, along with the Sunday “joint”.  This was what we used to call a large piece of meat with a big bone in it.  It would be cooked on the old oil stove.  There would be pitchers of well-water cooling in the fridge; I’ve never tasted that water’s equal since.  Aunt Laura would send me to the basement to get a jar of beans, beets or whatever.  It was kind of scary, but then it was on a farm, and there were lots of places and things to thrill me.  She would slice the home-canned beets and spiral the slices on a plate.  I think it was there that I learnt that the meat was only one portion of a very full table.  Everything was grown in their garden.  They raised first fresheners (cows that were to calve for the first time) for the neighbouring dairy farm, in exchange for meat and who knows what else.  The drive up to their place was bordered with standard Gravenstein Apple trees.  There was a stone bullpen in the barn with tall walls that I can remember just being able to peek over.  The hay was stored above and we’d use the super narrow & steep cobweb filled stairs to get there.  That was a special place, as it was where the barn cat would have her kittens.  Anyhow, I digress: farms, vegetables and kittens! Continue reading