The Foodscope, Ch. 1: Carrots


Carrots. Love ‘em, like ‘em, feel indifferent towards ‘em.  (On the real, I don’t know a single person who dislikes carrots; the most anti-carrot statement I’ve heard someone mutter is “Meh, they’re alright.”)

Am I wrong? Is there a group of Orange Root Haters out there I am simply unaware of? Someone get back to me on that.

That aside, I decided to kickoff another new series, like the one I started last week (read installment one of What’s for Breakfast here).  That series delves into the glorious realm of breakfast staples, but this series will dive deep into a specific food. I’ll delve into the food’s history, funky recipes from around the globe, interesting facts.  I’m going to cover it all.  And installment one?  Installment one is about carrots. You and I, dear Reader, will know the most anyone has ever known about carrots.  You’re welcome.

Let’s start with some facts:

  • The original carrot was ivory, close in color to today’s parsnip.  Today, the most common color of carrots is orange, because they’re full of beta carotene.
  • The first “edible” carrots were likely cultivated in the Persian empire in the 10th century AD (nearly 5,000 years ago)!
  • Those kooky-colored purple carrots you can find in Trader Joe’s likely originated in Afghanistan.
  • The word “carrot” has many derivatives, each translating to a variation of “edible root” or “horn,” due to its horn-like shape.
  • Carrots were eaten often throughout World War 2, due to the scarce availability of other foods. Carrots were re-popularized from this historical war.

Now let’s get to cookin’.

Select Recipes from Around the World:

  • Carrot pudding — yes, pudding — was often eaten in America in the colonial period.  Get the recipe here
  • Want to try something from the Netherlands? Cook up these Maple Roasted Dutch Carrots With Garlicky Carrot Top Hummus. Get the recipe here.
  • We’re traveling to the Middle East with this next dish: Sweet Basmati Rice with Carrots and Raisins from Afghanistan. Get the recipe here
  • For something spicy and sour, try these Hot Pickled Carrots from Mexico. Get the recipe here
  • Want to take a trip to the East? Try out this Chinese Turnip Cake. Get the recipe here.
  • For a foreign twist on a classic sweet, bake this Carrot Cake from Brazil. Get the recipe here

Need more carrot recipes? Visit this extensive carrot recipe index here (yes, an index dedicated to carrot recipes EXISTS! There’s even a museum of carrots…) 

And that concludes installment one of The Foodscope.  What food should I dig into next?


Gigi Nally

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