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How to Make Allen Ginsberg’s Borscht

Talk about a beat soup

Stephanie Butnick
June 07, 2013

Need a new recipe to mix things up this summer? Look no further than Allen Ginsberg’s recipe drawer. The poet’s summer borscht recipe is pretty solid (though personally I’m partial to this borscht salad), and thanks to the Internet, now you can make it yourself:


Dozen beets cleaned & chopped to bite size salad-size Strips
Stems & 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 & Lemon Juice to make the red liquid
sweet & sour like Lemonade

Chill 4 gallon(s) of beet liquid –

Serve with (1) 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
1) Onions – sliced (spring onions)
2) Tomatoes – sliced bite-sized
3) Lettuce – ditto
4) Cucumbers – ditto
5) a few radishes

Here’s Ginsberg’s actual hand-written copy of the recipe (h/t Open Culture):

The Recipe

Allen Ginsberg’s Borscht

Allen Ginsberg’s Borscht

Stephanie Butnick is chief strategy officer of Tablet Magazine, co-founder of Tablet Studios, and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.