When Worse Comes to Worst Comes to Borscht
Don't Stew, Make a Stew
Recently I had a conversation with my friend Steven about the phrase “when worse comes to worst.”
In between gabbing about season 14 of Drag Race (I’m Team Willow), the common adage came up and I couldn’t quite remember how it’s actually phrased.
“Is it worst comes to worse?” I asked Steven. “Or worse comes to worse? Or wait…worst comes to worst???”
“I think it’s ‘worse comes to worst’?” Steven said. “It seems like the ‘worst’ would be a definitive stopping point whereas ‘worse’ is relative to something else?”
For anyone being like “Um, how could you not know this exact phrase, Goof McGooferson!”: Let me just tell you that I only in my 30’s realized it was INput and not IMput, and I spent a good many years into my teens accidentally calling a number 2 scribbler a “prencil”—some weird word-morphing of “pencil” and “pretzel” that I now see as a harbinger of my love for both writing and carbs.
Also, if Grammar has shown us anything it’s that nothing is anything and everything can be something, as Steven proved by doing a Google-dive and sending me this:
For me, I thought the phrase was “when worse comes to worst,” because I’m a recovering cynic who struggles to stop being ever-vigilant because things can always become more terrible. Sort of like “Oh, are things the worst? Well, they can always get worse.”
Especially in the past year, I’ve felt this.
The constant taking away of pleasures and community and fun and support.
The struggle to move on in the face of yet. another. restriction.
The exhaustion of being resilient when all the good things are verboten.
It’s as if the planet and the gods have been playing a game of “pile on the bullshit” with us in the past couple years.
Last week I had a really great thing taken away. I’ll go into it more in the next newsletter, but the gist is this: In the grand scheme of things, my life wasn’t super terrible but I just felt dejected by one. more. joy. gone.
Years ago, before medication (long may it increase my serotonin), I might have experienced this loss as a final straw and gone off the deep end into bitterness and sadness and rage.
And while it’s good to process feelings, I’m learning more and more that there’s no use crying over spilled worse when you can’t do anything about it.
Maybe it’s resilience.
Maybe it’s just plain survival.
Maybe it’s the years and years of attempting to turn my victimhood perspective into something less annoyingly martyred.
Whatever the cause, I find myself moving forward from small loss more quickly now. My comfort brain just goes “Ok, I can’t have that. So what else can I have?”
And the thing that I found this week to have is BORSCHT.
Here’s the recipe, from my former landlady and current friend, Sally.
3-4 large fresh beets
Vegetable oil to rub on beets
3-4 Tbs butter (or olive oil to keep vegan)
2 large onions
4-5 cloves garlic
2 medium carrots
1 large can chopped tomatoes with juice
4 cups vegetable stock
2 Tbs honey
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp salt
One hour or more ahead of time, rub beets with olive oil and place in a shallow baking pan. Leave greens (“tail”) on beets. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.
In a soup pot melt butter on medium high heat. Sauté onions in butter or oil until soft. Add tomatoes and juice, stock, honey, bay leaves, dried herbs and salt. Bring to a boil. Turn heat down and simmer gently.
After beets have cooled, rub skin off and slice into julienne slices. Add to soup and simmer for 30 minutes. Adjust seasoning as needed.
So anyway, I hope you’re feeling hope today. And if you’re not, don’t stew over what you can’t change. Make a stew instead.
THREE GOOD THINGS
For reasons absolutely baffling to me, this Robyn video popped up when I googled borscht video content. INTERNET FOR THE WIN! Go dance around. I just did.
Has anyone tried these Poketo goal planners? They look really cool!
Something that helps me stay buoyant is to see other people staying buoyant as well, especially when they’re making cool shit. I’ve shared Jess’s stuff before, but if you’re looking for another newsletter to fill your inbox with good motivation and creative juice, I highly recommend it! (Especially this recent one.)
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