This essay of mine was previously published in Meat For Tea: The Valley Review in March, 2019. My mother reaches for a small square book with a picture of a bowl of fruit on the cover, its title, “The Calorie Counter.” We are in the checkout line at Food City, north of the QEW in …

Beets weren’t a loved vegetable in our house when I was growing up. They came from a can, their juices staining my mother’s hands. Mom was the only one who’d eat them. A meat and potatoes man, my father would condescend to a salad on occasion or root vegetables with his roast or sauerkraut with …