roasted beet and apple pie

There is no doubt in my mind that politics brings out the worst in people.

I could give you the list of who and what I’ll be voting for tomorrow. Trust me, I’m tempted! I want to tell you why I make the decisions I do, why I feel that those are the best choices for my girls’ future, for all our futures. I feel strongly about the boxes I’ll be checking on both the national and the local level, and in this case, my empathy skills are low. I’m right and I know it.

I know I’m not alone. For every opinion, there’s a parent insisting that they have to do what’s right for their children. I’m right! I know I’m right! But I’m guessing you might be right too, and we might even have different answers. It’s all so divisive–and if I’m voting for my children’s future then you must be voting against it! And there we are, pulled apart…50% to 50%.

Beyond that, there is this issue of money. Last I heard, there were 6 billion dollars pumped into the race, much of which came from corporations protecting their own agendas. It  makes me feel small, insignificant, and powerless, especially since the corporations and I don’t often see eye to eye.

Thankfully, there’s another side. Watch what people really do when they’re called upon to show the best of themselves. We’ve seen it in this last week–over and over, people show their goodness. The other day on the radio, I heard a man in New Jersey saying that he was looking forward to the electricity coming back on, but that he sure was hoping the community dinners would continue. That’s it. When called upon to do so, people will always feed their neighbors, no matter how much food they have to work with, no matter who their neighbor is voting for.

And for all this weariness and money and media, there’s the experience of actually voting, which counters it all.  It’s the real meat of who we are, and it’s our responsibility to show up, no matter what. Tomorrow, some people will have to move mountains to make their vote count. In New York and New Jersey, there are many polling places still without power, and there are people who will rely on volunteers to get them somewhere where they can check those boxes and make themselves heard. Others will bring their children with them, and the kids will wait as their parents create their future with their little checked boxes.

We are all trying to do the right thing. And good as we are, we will all wait our turn to vote. I’m hopeful.

I have a few listening links for you today. Because sometimes the best thing to do in these moments of hand-wringing is to sit down and listen to a story. To roll the dough and make a pie. To have a piece, and share the rest with your neighbors.

What a good face to see on Tuesday morning.

On the goodness of people, and the suspension of judgement.

And the first half of this especially, on talking to those we love.

Also, I have a pie for you from a person of such goodness–Ashley English. Her latest beautiful book (all pies from beginning to end!) will feed you through this upcoming pie season and beyond. I’ve made so many of her pies and they’ve all been wonderful (oh the blueberry! Don’t get me started on the blueberry!), but I think this savory beet and apple pie with herbs and horseradish has been my favorite.

Thank you all for being so good, for taking care of each other, and for voting tomorrow. I’ll see you on the other side!




  1. JoAnn C. says

    I read on the Food In Jars blog that your book has been nominated for a Good Reads Choice Award. Vote for yourself, Alana, you deserve it. Congrats to you and best of luck. My fingers are crossed for you to win.

  2. says

    I love everything about this post- the pie, your words, the photos. I am voting tomorrow and thankfully my Manhattan polling place wasn’t moved because of the storm. I’m thankful I have a chance to do it. Thank you for such good words tonight and the pie looks faaaabulous x

  3. says

    We mailed in our ballots in CA – meanwhile, what was our home in Princeton is still flooded. Oh this world. And oh, that pie! Horseradish? Beets? Apples? Sign me up!! Can’t wait to give this one a try. The world needs more savory vegetable pies (and, perhaps, fewer corporations pumping money into politics? something sane to replace the electoral college system? functional government rather than partisan roadblock? I guess we can start with the pie … !)

    See you on the other side indeed. Happy voting – to you and to all. :)

    • alana says

      Yes, Hannah, let’s start with pie! Best to get our hands dirty and make SOMETHING happen, right? Then, we’ll tackle the rest of that list…

  4. says

    Love the idea of a savory pie, especially with apples and beets, of which we’re wealthy.
    And yes, to the rest. I am imagining a united hands, a la Whoville on Christmas, across America, even if only in my mind. It helps.

  5. says

    Sanest words I’ve heard on politics in a long time, Alana. Also, the pie sounds delicious and fascinating (can pies be fascinating? I do think so) and that COLOR… I’d be tempted to make it for the color alone. But really this resonated with me so much because I’ve been dismayed the past few weeks by the discordant combination of how people have been brought together by the storm (neighbors helping each other in our little corner of NY: bringing food to one another, offering whatever room in homes are available to strangers who need it, stretching extension cords from one side of the street with power across the road to the houses on the other side without, so many lovely stories) against how people are separating themselves with the election (facebook statuses saying if people are voting for the other guy then they will be de-friended, that those who disagree on some grounds are obviously covering up some abominable true agenda, conspiracy theories flying back and forth between the parties, etc etc). I believe what I believe, strongly, but I don’t think that someone who believes something else must be a bad person worthy of only my condescension and disrespect. What about tolerance? What do we think the ancient, war-causing grudges in the world are about, but this very same “I’m right, I know I’m right, and I can’t sit at the table with anyone who is wrong” mentality? ANYWAY, this has become an awfully long comment, but all this has been on my mind so much lately and your post just touched a nerve. In a good way. Thank you for these words today. You are not powerless.
    :) Alison

    • alana says

      Well put, Alison. The timing of all this, with the storm and the election, has put those two sides of who we are right up next to each other. Listening to the news, it seems like they just alternate between stories of people screaming at each other about politics and people doing such kinds things for others. I’m not sure that one side is truer or more “us” than the other. But I am so thankful for the news of so much kindness. Happy voting day down there! And thanks for talking with me about all this today…

  6. Elizabeth Talerman says

    I will be casting my ballot here in Columbia County for the first time because I am determined my vote will count on both a local and national level. And while I know I’m right, I know that even more important is the discourse, the arguments for and against, the mutually nourishing conversations and education, neighbor to neighbor. Recently, such a dialogue took place among members of my extended family via Facebook and a cousin un-friended all of us. That is what I fear – when discord ends dialogue because dialogue is what makes a community and a democracy strong. BUT so does food and this pie is on my must bake list. One question – as cow’s milk and I don’t get along so well, do you think I could substitute a soft goat cheese or a goat’s milk yogurt or some combination of the two for the cottage cheese? Thanks for your thoughtful posts Alana and any advice on the pie!

    • alana says

      Happy voting day, Elizabeth! Columbia County is lucky to have you! And yes, as for the pie, my thought is that a nice soft chevre would probably work, although I’m not sure I’d use a full pound. Another thought I had was that sheep’s milk ricotta might work here too, if you have access to it. Let me know how it goes!

      • Elizabeth Talerman says

        Success!! I made this pie to celebrate a sweet ending to the presidential election and was not disappointed with the pie or the polling results! I switched out the cottage cheese for about 5 oz of soft, mild goat cheese and a big scoop of goat’s milk yogurt. The result was a pie filling that was dense with a strong beet sweetness. I loved it! Next time I may try a more savory, crumbly pie crust (might even toss in some sage) and I also might turn this into small, tartlets!

  7. Kem says

    Thank-you, Alana for your eloquent thoughts on politics. They really helped to ground me during this uncertain time.

  8. Luba says

    Thanks for this post, Alana!
    Our ballots are cast here in San Francisco, and now I am searching for diversion of all and any sorts to get me through the day. Baking something to share with the neighbors…that sounds like just the thing to do!

  9. says

    Thank you for those lovely words. I quoted them and sent them to most of my friends. My tribe of friends is split smack down the middle as far as politics go. 50-50, half on one “side,” half on the other, half for my guy, half for the other. All of us sure we are right and all of us desperate for good futures for our loved ones and this wonderful country of ours. But, somehow we manage to sit at the same table at lunch, on holidays, for significant occasions. Sometimes it’s easier than others. I think we manage it not because we love and like each other (although we do) but because we respect each other. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Like Aretha wanted!

  10. Dakota Ajani says

    Cooks use the terms “horseradish” or “prepared horseradish” to refer to the grated root of the horseradish plant mixed with vinegar. Prepared horseradish is white to creamy-beige in colour. It will keep for months refrigerated but eventually will darken, indicating it is losing flavour and should be replaced. The leaves of the plant, while edible, are not commonly eaten, and are referred to as “horseradish greens”.`

    View all of the most recently released piece of writing at our personal blog site

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>