Vintage Victuals: Beets in Sour Cream

Part I
I received today an early birthday present from my mother. It’s a 1938 copy of The Household Searchlight Recipe Book, and as I flipped through I noticed that the recipe for Fried Squirrel begins with “Dress squirrel” and leaves it at that. The conversation followed,

Me: “Like I have any idea how to dress a squirrel.”
Mom: “Little shirts and pants.”

The Household Searchlight Recipe Book, 1938

Part II
This began as an Instagram conversation. Well, okay, it began (as far as my life is concerned) in my grandma’s kitchen. Anyway, last night I posted a pic of my dinner, mostly beets, and someone mentioned that he was a recent convert to these tasty swollen roots. I shared that I’d grown up eating a creamy concoction that assured I’d like beets even as a kid, and a few people asked for the recipe. Here you go.

I call these creamed beets or pink beets. My grandmother calls them beets in sour cream. My mom, who dislikes this recipe, disparagingly calls them Barbie beets because of their rather startling color.

Begin with:
1 pound (16 oz can) cut or diced beets, drained
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons flour
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon dill weed
â…› teaspoon black pepper
½ cup sour cream
3 tablespoon light cream


Everything you need. Even the not-very-photogenic vinegar.

Left to right, top to bottom, these are your steps:

  1. Melt butter in saucepan (Larger than you think you’ll need. Beets are messy.) over low heat. You don’t want it to start to brown.
  2. Blend in flour. Continue to cook over low heat, stirring until the mixture is smooth and bubbly. In my experience, this only takes a few seconds. Also in my experience, it’s more effective to distribute the flour evenly by shaking the pan vigorously rather than stirring. But not so vigorously as to require cleaning the stovetop. Don’t take out your aggression on the roux.
  3. Remove from heat; stir in vinegar, sugar, salt, dill, and pepper. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for 1 minute.
  4. Stir in beets, heat through.
Step by step

As your final step, stir in the sour cream and light cream. It will look clumpy and unappetizing at first, but as you stir it will smooth out nicely. If you use canned beets, the color will be more vibrant than if you use vacuum-packed beets as I did here.

Beets in sour cream. Deliciousness.


One Reply to “Vintage Victuals: Beets in Sour Cream”

  1. I was going to suggest a tutu and a ray gun, but that works, too! Annnnd, perhaps I’ve said too much…

    Never liked beets…but I haven’t tried them in years!


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