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Borscht, bytes, and algorithms


Those words don’t go together, but sometimes the strangest things form a set.


It’s the weekend and time to add another item to my #52 Over 50 list — my plan to get up and out. I’m needing a push to put down the remote and turn off Netflix. Luckily, we’ve finished binge-watching Peaky Blinders and Jack Ryan. There’s no excuse to laze about.


Our weekend adventure is a trip to #Victoria. It’s not really an adventure. We’re both from there, but driving off the ferry feels like coming home.


So why borscht? That’s easy. We're eating healthy, dining on soup, and cutting carbs. That includes wine. With that in mind, we dusted off an old Weight Watcher

vegetable soup recipe, tweaked it, and started calling it borscht. My husband seems to have taken over most of the cooking and prides himself on his extraordinary take on the old beet classic. He's offered to make my mom a batch of soup for the freezer.


Now me, I would think twice about making borscht for a Ukrainian, especially one who could write a book on cabbage rolls, perogies, and soup. Mom learned her skills when she was knee-high to the circa 1920’s stove on her family’s farm.


The conversation goes like this:


My husband: I’ll season the meat with salt and pepper, then roast it.


Mom: No. Toss it in the pot with everything else.


It's her soup, so dying a little at the thought of boiling the meaty ribs, he tosses them into the pot and starts chopping vegetables.


My husband: Do you want the beets cubed or chopped?


Mom: Grated. Try to make them long pieces.


He sets to work cursing and grating beets. They go into the pot with the meat and vegetables.


Soon, the sweet earthy scent of borscht flavors the air. It smells like Christmas. Growing up, every Christmas Eve we had a traditional Ukrainian supper. It came with a houseful of company, a kid table, and food — massive amounts of food. I wander into the kitchen to check the progress.


Borscht is red. I know it's supposed to be. Ours is usually more of a salmon colour than a burgundy. From now on, it’s grated beets.


With the soup simmering, the conversation turns to computers. My husband is Mom’s tech guru. He set her up with her first computer. At 91, she sometimes gets confused about how much RAM she has left, or if she should password protect her word files. This is standard talk for them and way over my head. I stick my nose in my phone and check email. I have nothing to bring to this conversation.


Mom: I can’t remember my Gmail password.


I feel her pain. Who hasn’t forgotten a password?


My husband: What did you use last time?


There follows a convoluted trial and error password hunt before they set up a new sign in.


My husband: Anything else you need done for your computer?


Mom: Well . . . I do have a question.


He waits, expecting to give her a refresher on file management, bytes, or RAM.


Mom: I’m not quite clear on algorithms.


My husband: Google it.


So here’s to tech savvy, computer geekery and soup. As for me, I might ask for mom’s help with SEOs.


I'll be at the Kris Kringle Craft Market in Nanaimo from November 21-24th. If you're around, drop by and say hi.

#kriskringle2019


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