Allen Ginsberg’s ‘beet poetry’ makes for an ideal late summer meal


Poet Allen Ginsberg was a presence in Boulder from the time I arrived in the late 1970s. Over the years I interviewed him several times about poetry and various causes when he was living part-time in Boulder and teaching at Naropa Institute. Late in his life, I reached out and asked if he had any recipes. I quietly hoped for a certain red root vegetable so I could use the catchy-corny “Beet Poetry” headline. Ginsberg lamented that he no longer cooked much, but passed along the following recipe written in his distinctive clipped voice in phrases like “into cold red liquid.”  

Allen Ginsberg’s Summer Borscht

1. “Dozen beets cleaned & chopped to bite-size, salad-size strips. Stems and leaves also chopped like salad lettuce. All boiled together lightly salted to make a bright red soup, with beets now soft — boil an hour or more. Add sugar and lemon juice to make the red liquid sweet & sour like lemonade. Chill and serve with sour cream on table.

2. Boiled small or halved potato on the side (i.e., so hot potatoes don’t heat the cold soup prematurely)

3. Spring salad on table to put into cold red liquid

4. Onions, sliced (spring onions)

5. Tomatoes, sliced bite-sized

6. Lettuce — ditto

7. Cucumbers — ditto

8. A few radishes.” 

Culinary Calendar: Colorado’s Top Wines

Looking for a great Colorado wine to serve during holiday feasts? The 2022 Colorado Governor’s Cup Collection features wines judged to be the best produced in the state. Among the winners are Mesa Park Vineyards 2020 Equilibre Red Blend, Carboy Winery 2020 Teroldego, The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey 2019 Syrah, and Vino Salida 2017 Tempranillo. See the rest of the list at: (All these wines can be sampled Nov. 4 at the annual Colorado UnCorked event at The History Colorado Center.) … Now is the time to make reservations for Boulder County’s First Bite, Sept. 30-Oct. 9. Menus at… Vote by Sept. 24 for your favorite cultural and culinary institutions in Louisville, Lafayette and Longmont in the Best of Boulder East County Survey. Vote at  

Send information about local food events, classes, tastings, pairings, farm stands and eatery openings to:

Taste of the Week: War, Culture and Chicken

Certain dishes — especially when they emerge from immigrant kitchens in America — come seasoned with the unlikely long journey the recipe took to your taste buds. For the past few years, Bee Rungtawan Kisich has been steadily gathering fans for the authentic Thai food she dishes from Bee’s Thai Kitchen food truck, which she runs with her husband, Kevin, and their two kids. 

The newest dish on Bee’s menu, Korat Bus Stop Chicken, literally took a long and winding road to Boulder County. 

Bee’s Thai Kitchen Korat, Bus Stop Chicken. Photo by John Lehndorff.

To make Korat Bus Stop Chicken, smaller chickens are butterflied, marinated in a potent blend of garlic, lemongrass, cilantro and chilies and slow grilled on a rotisserie. The result is amazingly juicy, bud-tingling flavor combined with sticky rice and sweet chili sauce.

Kisich grew up in northern Thailand near the borders of Laos and Myanmar where she learned to cook from her mother. The fare there is a particular offshoot of Southeast Asian cuisine. 

Kevin Kisich explains that when he was an 8-year-old in 1969, he lived at Korat Air Force Base with his family. It was the middle of the Vietnam War and the base, he says, was 163 miles of bad road separated from the big city: Bangkok. Airmen had to take the long bus ride to get to Bangkok. 

Small food shops sprang up to provide provisions for travelers, and the menu of Issan (Northern Thai) specialties included one the GIs called Korat Bus Stop Chicken. 

You can find Bee’s Thai Cuisine truck at various locations in Boulder County each week. Details: 


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