Harvard Beets, an old American favorite, make wonderful picnic food. Pack some to nibble with cold fried chicken.
8 medium beets, unpeeled
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup cold water
2 tablespoons butter
1. Drop the beets into a large pot of boiling, salted water and cook, uncovered, at a gentle bubble until tender. Drain in a colander set under cold running water. When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel them and slice into 1/4-inch-thick rounds.
2. In a wide saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, vinegar, and water. Stir to dissolve the cornstarch and place over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until the mixture boils and thickens. Add the beet slices and stir gently to coat each one. Add the butter and stir until melted. Serve lightly chilled or at room temperature.