My grand daughter Lila, age 6, asked what Labor Day was for.
Because for her it means she doesn’t officially start first grade until the day after. But there aren’t any decorations or presents, no pumpkins, trees, glitter, hearts or chocolate. So what’s the deal?
I explained to her that it is meant to celebrate America’s workers. The people who work every day as mechanics and auto workers, salespeople, firefighters, teachers, police and restaurant cooks and servers and so on and so on. Sometimes communities have parades and fireworks.
But there are no special ornaments, no greeting cards and also no particular food.
On the other hand, people do celebrate Labor Day in some sort of way. The entire weekend has become a sort of end-of-summer before-we-have-to-get-serious one. So there’s picnics and baseball games and maybe the last swim of the season.
At my place, the kids and grandkids come. We’ll have a homemade challah. And pie. Some Grand Finale Cookies. Lots of grilled stuff and a heap of summer tomatoes, corn and salad.
And Beet Salad. Because everyone in the family loves it. This is my latest version.
Beet Salad with Moroccan Spices
3 large beets
1/4 cup chopped red onion
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Trim the beets (use the greens separately). Scrub the beets and wrap them tightly in aluminum foil. Roast until tender, about 55-75 minutes, depending on size. Unwrap the beets and when they are cool enough to handle, peel them. Cut the beets into bite size pieces. Place the beet chunks in a bowl. Add the onion, parsley and mint. In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, wine vinegar, mustard, cumin and coriander. Pour over the beet mixture and toss ingredients. Let rest for 15 minutes before servings. Serve at room temperature. Makes 4-6 servings