Desk Set is one of my favorite movies of all time. All Time! That’s a very decisive statement for someone as indecisive as myself! It’s so well-written. It’s witty all of the time, and downright funny in flashes. It’s incredibly generous to the characters–the writers love all of them, even the extra-quirky ones. And the characters love each other. Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, obviously, glow in each other’s presence. That’s a given. But one of my favorite aspects of the film is the friendship between Katherine Hepburn’s Bunny, and her friend Peg Costello, played by Joan Blondell. They have a history, they look after each other, they make each other laugh. One of the best passages in the history of film is the office christmas party. Peg and Bunny drink champagne and scotch and martinis and lord knows what else (“they’re all the same base–alcohol!”) They become giddy, and you feel giddy watching them. At one point, they’re reminiscing about New Year’s Eves through the years, about being lonely, and Peg tells a story about a missed opportunity with a well-dressed man. Katherine Hepburn raises her paper cup of champagne in the air and says “More power to you!”
This is a line and a delivery that has been stuck in my head a lot lately. And I want to keep it there. I happen to have a snarky voice in my head from time-to-time. When I was a teenager they called me Miss Snide–in the minefield of high school, sarcasm is sometimes the best defense. And this voice lingers in my head, right into middle age. It’s a sarcastic, and often, sadly, a judgmental voice. Society is to blame! We live in a world full of petty criticisms, mean anonymous comments, articles that rate people and compare people and criticize their every move. I try to hold the voice in check. I don’t want to waste my time in being critical of trivial things. I believe that people should be able to wear what they want to wear, say what they want to say, and act how they want to act, as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody else. I want to be generous and affectionate all the time. But I’m not, I’m just not. So, lately, when I feel myself being snidely critical of some small thing a person does or says or wears, I imagine Katherine Hepburn, paper cup of champagne in the air, declaring, “More power to you!” If every single cruel and acidic comment on the old internet could be replaced with “More power to you!” Well, that wouldn’t be so bad. More power to you! More power to each and every one of you!
I made this earlier in the summer, but since beets are making a come back at the farm, I’m posting the recipe now. More power to me! It’s an easy recipe, with lots of strong flavors, but most of the children I fed it to liked it. It’s almost like a relish, because the beets are chopped so finely, so you can have it on the side of anything, or on some good bread, or however you like to eat it.
Here’s Go Where You Wanna Go by the Mamas and Papas
3 smallish beets, peeled and trimmed
1 or 2 T olive oil
2 t fresh rosemary
1 t lemon thyme (or regular thyme)
1/2 cup crumbled feta
large handful castelvetrano olives, pitted and roughly chopped
small handful roasted pinenuts
small handful fresh basil leaves, washed and chopped
salt and lots of freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 425. Chop the beets very fine. I used the food processor. I cut each beet into large chunks, put it all in the food processor and give it 4 or 5 long pulses. You want it to be finely chopped but not puréed. Toss the beets with enough olive to coat and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast until browned and crispy, about 20 minutes. They’ll start to smell caramelized. Stir and toss frequently so that they brown evenly.
Scrape into a bowl. Add all of the other ingredients and mix well. Serve!