Thursday, July 12, 2012


I ran into Smart & Final the other day and came out finally not so smart. In my haste to pick up a couple bottles of Sugar-Free Torani I passed the produce section and remembered that we had run out of carrots. I grabbed a package and got home to discover I had just purchased 26 carrots. It must be the industrial size for restaurants. The average American eats 10,866 in a lifetime. This should make up any deficit I may have had.

I do love carrots as much as the next guy. I like to peel them. I like to dip them in whatever dip we happen to have. I enjoy the way they crunch and how noble I feel eating them instead of one of those unmentionable sweet snacks for which I have a special tooth.

For the past three days I’ve been eating carrots at the rate of Bugs Bunny. I remember, as a kid, hearing that carrots were good for the eyes. It made sense; I’d never seen a rabbit wearing glasses. Research shows that rabbits really don’t eat carrots; another lie I’d been raised on and swallowed. Now, after my eleventh carrot, I’m beginning to lose my taste for them.

This must be the source of food-phobias. A dear friend of mine dislikes all fruits except apples. I’m imagining he was trapped under a truck-load of peaches, apricots and plums as a child and was traumatized. How else to explain anyone disliking summer fruit? One day I may trace my hatred of coconuts. If I were shipwrecked and floated on an orange crate to a desert island with a coconut grove I would pass it by and take my chances.

But I digress. The subject is carrots. If I weren’t so busy writing blogs I’d bake a carrot cake. I just looked it up. There are 943 recipes for carrot cake. The average one lists 13 ingredients and carrots are the tenth, behind, flour, sugar and cream cheese. Each serving adds 47 grams of carbohydrates to one’s diet. Forget it.

If you take the wrong freeway and find yourself in the Hebrides, Scotland toward the end of September you might wonder why carrots are being dug up by the locals. It is, of course, to celebrate Michaelmas. Wild carrots are ritually gathered. It is an occasion for revelry and why not, I ask you?

Carrots translate to some fairly strange words in other countries. Spain calls them zanahoria. In China they are huluobo and marchew in Poland. Remember this. It could come in handy one day.

Starlings seek out wild carrots which kill certain mites in their nests. The carrot contains a compound that repels mites and inhibits their egg-laying abilities. How starlings know to choose parasite-deterring plants like the wild carrot remains a mystery. I might go on a starling hunt tomorrow and drop some carrot-mush in their flight-path. Then again parasites need love too. Let the birds fend for themselves. Better not mess with Mother Nature.

Final thought: If had 26 karats instead of carrots I'd be a rich man but I'd rather remain lucky instead.

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