Monday, October 01, 2007

Carrots aren't just orange, you know!

When chattin' about food, I'm often surprised by how many people feel so terribly sure that tomatoes are always red, beans are always green and carrots are most certainly orange. You would think in a world so aware of human diversity, we'd step back and wonder why those are the ONLY colors we see sold in our grocery store shelves. The truth is, veggies come in crazy colors--and they're no harder to grow!

Carrots are a primo example. As any ancient cookbook will tell you, carrots, for the Romans, were primarily white and purple. It wasn't until the Dutch visited Queen Elizabeth and presented her with a tub of their famous butter and wreath of golden carrots, green frilly stalks still attached, that the orange carrot we know today became the popular norm by her decree. True, they taste nice--but until you try the sweet notes of a Belgian icicle variety, or the dirty rich taste of a scarlet nantes, you haven't really eaten carrots.They don't have to be straight, either! Look what happens when this root hits a rock!