I don’t think I ate Harvard beets at Harvard, but I was glad to learn, in a recent number of the Harvard University Gazette, that Associate Professor of Psychiatry William A. Carlezon, Jr.’s research has shown that beets can mitigate depression—in rats. Beets contain uridine, a nucleoside that seems to make rodents lively but leaves them indolent when they are deprived of it. Whether this works on humans is not for me to say, but where is the harm in downing beets when you feel blue? Harvard beets are clearly not harmful, but they are a bit gloppy. If this has kept you off them, just leave out the cornstarch. That will also eliminate the mirrorlike sheen of the traditional sauce but will not affect the sweet-and-sour flavor that defines the dish.