December 4th- On the First Day of Christmas, My Partner Gave to Me…Beets? by Flamingo

“What are those for?” Starsky asked, as Hutch sorted through a bin of produce.

Hutch was already holding a cluster or bunch or flock or whatever-you-call-it of suspicious-looking bulbous things with pointy bottoms and tree-like tops that Starsky already wanted nothing to do with. Grocery shopping with Hutch–always an exercise in name-that-exotic-inedible-food-item–was worse around the holidays. About two weeks before Thanksgiving, his partner would start to transform.

From the regular guy Starsky knew–a guy who considered food little more than fuel to keep body and soul together, who would protest the fast food they often ate on the fly while downing it with gusto, and who, like Starsky, would consume cold coffee and stale sandwiches on stake-outs that always ran longer than their eight-hour shift–about two weeks before Thanksgiving, Hutch, this regular guy, would start to change. While Hutch had always been an adventurous and creative cook, during the weeks before Thanksgiving, he turned into Julia Child’s favorite student. And Starsky knew from experience that Julia and Hutch had some weird notions about what normal human beings should eat.

Like the stuff Hutch was picking out right now.

Hutch found another bulby-tree-thing

 Flamingo_beets and beet greens

and shook it gently free of its brethren, smiling as if he’d discovered the lost gold of the Incas.

Flamingo_inca_gold_mask.

“You know what these are,” Hutch said without looking at him. He was still inspecting the pile. “They’re beets. I know you’ve eaten beets before. Your mom told me–“

“Those are beets?” Starsky said dubiously. “What’s all that green stuff hanging onto them?”

“Beet greens!” Hutch said with way too much enthusiasm. “When you see beets with their tops like this, all fresh and green and not wilted, you know they were picked just this morning. You’ll love those greens, Starsk. Sautéed gently with a touch of butter and some raisins and pine nuts, they’re really sweet. I like to roast the beets with a bit of maple syrup to intensify–“

Starsky needed to put a stop to this right now. “If you talked to Mom, then she musta told you that I hate beets. I don’t like ’em as soup. I don’t like ’em boiled. I don’t like ’em pickled. They taste like dirt. And so will all that grass-stuff growing out of ’em. I can think of much better things to do with pine nuts and raisins this time of year–like puttin’ them where they belong–on gingerbread people and in cakes and pies. Not in boiled grass.”

Hutch just chuckled like he always did when Starsky insisted he hated certain foods. Which meant that Starsky would be facing not just a plate of beets in some form or other on Thanksgiving day, but worse yet, their greeny growing things as well.

Starsky groaned. “You know, Hutch, the song don’t go, ‘On the first day of Christmas, my partner gave to me…beets!'”

Hutch finally looked at him as he placed a horrendous mess of the gigantic grassy tubers in his basket. It looked like coming attractions for The Day of the Triffids.   *

“Have some faith in me, buddy! After all this time, you should know that you usually love the things I make for Thanksgiving.”

“Yeah, the normal stuff. The turkey with the cornbread stuffing, green bean casserole–the only way man was even meant to eat anything green–candied yams with toasted marshmallows, mashed potatoes swimming in butter and gravy–“

“It’s time for us to start eating healthier, Starsk. We’re not getting any younger. This year we’re having lighter fare. Less carbs, lower fat, more natural food. Wild rice with pecans and cranberries, green beans with almonds, butternut squash with cinnamon, sweet potatoes with apples and a light pecan topping, beets roasted with a touch of maple syrup, roasted cauliflower with caramelized onions–“

“Cauliflower!” Starsky yelped. “You’re pulling my leg!”

“Do I have to remind you about your fitness profile and your cholesterol rating? We’ve got to get those numbers down.”

“You’re supposed to change your diet after the New Year, Hutch! Not on Thanksgiving.”

Hutch just patted him on the shoulder. “You’ll thank me after your next checkup.”

Starsky was almost afraid to ask. “What about pie? You’re gonna make your famous pumpkin pie, right?” Starsky waited all year for that pie.

“At almost 600 calories a slice, I should say not. We’ll have a nice fruit salad.”

For half a beat, Starsky thought he might actually cry. “You keep talking crazy like this, and I swear I’ll have Thanksgiving with the Dobeys. You and your beets and your cauliflower can eat by yourselves.”

Hutch was picking out apples and pears for his fruit salad, only half-listening to Starsky. “As a matter of fact, you will be having Thanksgiving with the Dobeys. We’re eating with them! Edith and I ran into each other at the bank, and she was dreading having to cook the heavy fare they usually ate on the holiday. You know she’s always worried about the captain’s health. His latest health profile was even worse than yours. We got to talking and decided we’d get a jump on the New Year by making a healthy Thanksgiving. She and I worked out the menu and–“

“It’s a conspiracy?” Starsky was shocked. His partner and his captain’s wife plotting together to destroy Thanksgiving?

Hutch just laughed. “Trust me, Starsk. It’ll all work out just fine.”

“Just tell me there’s gonna be turkey. There will be turkey, won’t there?” If Hutch was going to offer up some kind of fake meat substitute, he was taking a plane home to New York!

Flamingo_quornturkyroast-lanczos3

“Of course there’ll be turkey! It’s one of the healthiest foods you can have. But Edith isn’t serving the smoked ham she usually provides. Not this year.”

“Does Dobey know that the two of you have decided to ruin his favorite holiday?”

Hutch looked pensive. “I don’t know. He’s usually too busy to worry about the menu. Most years, he’s just hoping he’ll be able to get home for the meal if nothing crazy happens in the city.”

Well, this was just a fine kettle of fish! Starsky’s all time favorite holiday ruined by his partner’s health mania. And Edith Dobey! One of his favorite people. He’d never felt so betrayed.

“Of course, Starsk, since you reminded me of the first day of Christmas song, it occurs to me we could skip the turkey and have a brace of partridges

SONY DSC

instead, with a nice pear salad.”

Starsky nearly lost it. “Who eats partridges in this day and age? Who even heard of cooking partridges? Where would you even GET partridges–” He suddenly realized a half dozen people in the supermarket were staring at him. He lowered his voice. “I’ve gotten used to your up-and-down reactions to Christmas, but you never sabotaged Thanksgiving before. Now you’ve gone too far. It’s un-American!”

Hutch just laughed and pushed his cart over to a pile Brussels sprouts.

Flamingo_brussel sprouts

Starsky’s eyes grew wider. He clamped his mouth shut, realizing his ranting would just encourage Hutch’s wicked streak, and he’d add even more inedibles to what had once been the holiday Starsky looked forward to more than any other. Maybe he should talk to Huggy or Mrs. Walters about joining them for dinner. He had a feeling Captain Dobey would be happy to sneak out with him. As Hutch puttered along, picking up one gross vegetable after another and humming merrily, Starsky’s gaze suddenly landed on a different kind of display.

***

Hutch looked over his selections with anticipation as he started stacking them on the check-out counter. The healthy vegetables were colorful and fresh; he knew they’d be delicious on his and Edith’s Thanksgiving table. Starsky might rant and rave, but once he tasted these minimally processed foods that needed little more than a touch of olive oil or maple syrup or bit of butter to bring out their natural deliciousness, Hutch knew he’d win him over. Just wait ’til Starsky tasted these Brussels sprouts roasted with caramelized onions–

His hand hit something in his cart he didn’t recognize, and he looked down. He was about to pick up a small bag of garden soil

 Flamingo_pottingsoil

that was leaning against the side of the cart next to a jar of plant food and a bag of decorative stones. He blinked. He didn’t put those–

Standing up straighter, he peered at Starsky. His partner was wearing that patented “innocent” look he’d perfected over the years. Which meant that he was responsible.

“What’s this for?” Hutch asked.

“I wanted to contribute something to the meal,” Starsky said, as if that should be obvious. “It’s healthy! Full of minerals for strong bones and teeth. Low fat. Low calorie. Maybe we can have it for dessert.”

Hutch smiled and stacked the items on the counter along with the rest of the food.

Starsky’s expression changed to one of surprise. “You’re keeping that stuff?”

“Sure,” Hutch said, suppressing a smile. “I can use it to make a Dirt Cake!

Flamingo_dirtcake

Dirt Cake Recipe
(right click and save as)

It’ll be the perfect dessert.”

To be continued…

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25 Responses to December 4th- On the First Day of Christmas, My Partner Gave to Me…Beets? by Flamingo

  1. becky says:

    a wonderful Christmas chuckle. I’d love to have been in that store following them around!

  2. Duluth says:

    Honestly, Hutch’s Thanksgiving meal sounds fantastic to me! He’s welcome to come to my house and cook for Christmas, if Starsky doesn’t mind. 🙂 Thanks for the fun story, Flamingo! Starsky food torment is always a pleasure to read! Thanks!

    • Sammy(samudee) says:

      Of course you’d love it! :/
      You are a “tormenter” yourself!!!!! I’m sure Starsky will get out of this disaster!

  3. MsMoat says:

    Oh, my. I can so completely see this happening. *g* ‘Dirt Cake’–hah. Poor Starsky (and Dobey!) And it’s their favorite holiday, too… Thank you! This was very enjoyable, and I loved all the inserted images, Wikipedia links, and recipes! Looking forward to the continuation!

  4. Sammy(samudee) says:

    Poor Starsky!!!
    Starsky has to come up with a plan, now!!!

  5. Spencer says:

    I’m with Starsk on this one – I hate beets, too. But I appreciate Hutch’s desire to have him eat healthier. That way he’ll be with us for a long, long time!

  6. silviabella says:

    Ahaha, this was fantastic! I loved the nerdy reference to The Day of the Triffids. It’s just the sort of science-fiction movie Starsky would watch…
    As for the food, I have only one advice: Starsky, run!
    I look forward to the next part.

  7. anachron says:

    That was great, and the graphics were super! Hutch was so Hutch (love the idea of him ‘transforming’ before Thanksgiving) and Starsky — all disbelief and indignation — was perfect. And thank you, from here on out I will only be able to think of a flock of beets when I’m shopping for them. 😀 Oh, and the dirt cake really would be up Starsky’s alley. 😀

    Looking forward to the rest!

  8. Dawn says:

    Totally agree with Starsky about the brussel sprouts, but yum to green beans with almonds. If Hutch used the beets to make a borsche stew, I’m there!

  9. marianrose says:

    Thank you for this great story. I love the way you captured Starsky’s thoughts like a “flock” of beets along with your pic. So clever! And there is such a beautiful quality to their relationship here in the subtle ways you show it like Hutch’s concern for Starsky’s cholesterol numbers. It’s so great to see them a little older too.

  10. Kat says:

    Poor Starsky. He can come to my house. I won’t make him eat yucky beets! LOL! Thanks. Can’t wait for the next part.

    The link additions were fun!

  11. taass says:

    I love it! Their food differences have always been funny and the idea of Hutch “transforming” is great! Somehow, I bet Starsky wins in the end though…….

  12. Nancy says:

    I had almost everything that Hutch put in his basket except partridges and dirt cake! We cooked them differently, but they were still Hutchalicious! Great treat getting to shopping with them Flamingo.
    Thanks!!

  13. Sagitta says:

    A true “Flamingo’s special”.
    Poor Starsky and Dobey.

    Looking forward for more recipes…

  14. Kerrys2Boys says:

    A great way to start my day – swinging down the food aisles with my two favorite men and listening to them banter about food. As and added bonus I picked up some great recipe ideas for Christmas from Julia’s golden student – ah – I mean, Hutch. Poor Starsky – Hutch might need to make up for depriving him of his beloved foods in other ways 😉

  15. m. butterfly says:

    A cliffhanger?! I can’t wait for the next part, Flamingo! What a fun, lovely story. It’s making me hungry (because I, like Hutch, love beets). I wish they’d invite me over for dinner.

  16. Melodi says:

    Oh, was this GREAT!! But as soon as I saw Flamingo’s name, I knew it would be… LOVED all the insertions!! Very clever!! Can’t wait for the next installment… Thank you!!!!!!!

  17. Elaine says:

    Is it just me, or are some of these images phallic? Could be my dirty mind…

  18. P4UL4H says:

    Loving this and looking forward to the next instalment.
    I’d love to sit down to anything Hutch is cooking up. It all sounds delicious.
    Thanks for this Flamingo.

  19. Hutcherie says:

    That was funny! I couldn´t stop laughing while reading! Thanks Flamingo!!! 🙂

  20. barancoire says:

    They’re so them here – hilarious…!!!
    Great work, Flamingo!!!
    I love Hutch, but I do understand Starsky’s despair. I couldn’t eat that too.
    ;D

  21. wightfaerie says:

    LOL. Wonderful, Flamingo. As I knew it would be. I am so there, the menu sounds perfect. Love beets, or beetroot as we Brits call it. Poor Starsky. Would love to have followed the guys on this shopping trip. Maybe Hutch will take pity and do something alongside the healthy stuff that Starsky will eat.

  22. hardboiledbaby says:

    Ahahaha, this is fantastic! Their eternal battle over food never ever gets old. The “beets taste like dirt” especially made me laugh because the BF says the same thing about carrots 😀 Yay for brussel sprouts! Thanks, Flamingo, looking forward to part deux xoxo

  23. Keri says:

    That was a delicious read in every way! There’s just no one who writes Starsky and Hutch and FOOD like you do.

    Poor Starsky caught in a conspiracy of good health! Poor guy wants a good meal and not a brace (excellent word!) of partridges. Just the thought, LOL.

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