Fans of “The Office” can get a taste of an underappreciated superfood in “Beet This: An Unofficial Schrute Farms Cookbook.”
WTOP’s Jason Fraley previews ‘Beet This’ cookbook (Part 1)
Fact: Dwight Schrute is the best Assistant to the Regional Manager ever at Dunder Mifflin.
Fact: The beet is certainly the most superior plant-based food ever discovered by man.
Fact: You can find tasty recipes in “Beet This: An Unofficial Schrute Farms Cookbook,” co-written by “The Office” fans Keith Riegert, Sam Kaplan and Tyanni Miles for Ulysses Press.
“We’d always been talking about doing an ‘Office’ cookbook, but it’s an intimidating subject. It’s such a well-loved show and such a great character in Dwight Schrute,” Riegert told WTOP. “When the pandemic started and everyone was watching ‘The Office,’ the three of us … were rewatching ‘The Office,’ pining for those days [and] we decided to do it.”
He said beets provide plenty of nutritional benefits.
“Beetroot is a superfood,” Riegert said. “It’s packed with vitamins like iron, vitamin C, potassium, folate. It’s got a little bit of protein and it’s very, very fiber heavy, so if you’re having any issues [going to the bathroom] in the morning, this is a good place to turn. But yeah, it’s a superfood. It’s a tricky plant to grow, but when you do it well, the nutritional benefits are fantastic.”
You’ll find a range of recipes, including Beet Biscuits with Rabbit Gravy (a breakfast classic); Beet and Cabbage Salad; Beet Fries; Russian Beet Soup; Whole Roasted Beets; Moist Chocolate-Beet Cake; Home-Distilled Beet Vodka (for a nightcap) and more.
“They’re all influenced by old-timey Pennsylvania cooking,” Riegert said, citing dishes such as pigeons and jelly; spicy fried rattlesnake with pickled beets on the side; homemade pork knuckle; homemade bratwurst filling; and crimson cream beets and beet chips. “They’re delicious.”
How is the book layout designed?
“What would it be like if a cookbook had been passed down through the generations at Schrute Farms?” Riegert said. “The book is a small-trim, hardback-cover book with full watercolor illustrations. … The headnotes for all of the recipes are done in a very Dwight Schrutey way with anecdotes from the family and imagined happenings.”
Of course, it’s printed on the best possible paper of which Michael Scott would approve.
“It’s not from Scranton, but it’s beautiful paper,” Riegert said. “The employees of Dunder Mifflin would enjoy the paper this is printed on. It’s gorgeous, 70-pound, nice, white paper.”
He even sent a copy to Dwight Schrute himself.
“We sent a copy to Rainn Wilson,” Reigert said. “It’s getting there through some of my family out in Hollywood. I hope he loves it, because we really poured ourselves into it. It was a really enjoyable process and a fun project in the middle of a pandemic when none of us can see our coworkers.”
What’s his favorite Dwight Schrute quote?
“‘Before I do anything, I ask myself, ‘Would an idiot do that?’ And if the answer is yes, I do not do that thing’ — that was just very quintessential Dwight Schrute,” Riegert said. “The beginning of our back cover is, ‘What wouldn’t an idiot make for dinner?’”
So if you don’t consider yourself an idiot, you can’t “beet this” cookbook.
WTOP’s Jason Fraley previews ‘Beet This’ cookbook (Part 2)
Listen to our full conversation here.