Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Comment::start_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::start_lvl(&$output) in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/comment-template.php on line 0

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Comment::end_lvl() should be compatible with Walker::end_lvl(&$output) in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/comment-template.php on line 0

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Comment::start_el() should be compatible with Walker::start_el(&$output) in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/comment-template.php on line 0

Strict Standards: Declaration of Walker_Comment::end_el() should be compatible with Walker::end_el(&$output) in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/comment-template.php on line 0
Hungry Magazine - All Things Tasty
Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003
03.20.07

Eh, What’s Up, Doc?

Food History


Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /home/mjnagran/hungrymag.com/wp-content/plugins/polls/polls.php on line 303

In the summer, few wild flowers appear to be more common than Queen Anne’s lace. Small explosions of tiny white blossoms top slender green stalks of these delicate plants named for England’s Anne, who reigned from 1702 to 1714. The name suits the delicate appearance—and certainly sounds better than what the plant really is, which is simply a wild carrot. And not just a wild carrot, but a domestic carrot gone feral, because the Americas had no carrots before the first colonists brought along their cultivated varieties. So these are escapees and aliens. But that means that, while a few seeds snuck out of the garden and reverted to an original wild type, even our domestic carrots are introduced plants.

The carrot as we know it is a native of Afghanistan, where evidence shows it was growing as early as 5,000 years ago. I say, “as we know it,” because these were domesticated carrots—where the first wild carrot arose is not so clear. Wild carrots, with short, skinny, acrid-tasting roots, were fairly widespread long before people were keeping track of what they were trading with their neighbors, appearing in much of West Asia and Europe. Traces of wild carrot seed have been found at prehistoric sites in Switzerland, and wild carrots were listed among the plants grown in the royal gardens of Babylon. But it appears that the wild carrot was grown for its seeds or leaves, which were used as medicines and seasonings. Though domesticating the carrot is relatively easy, with the root getting larger within a few generations, it seems it just didn’t occur to anyone west of Afghanistan to make the attempt.

The 8th century saw the beginning of a period of rapid Arab expansion. The Arabs were great ones for writing about everything they were finding in, and bringing home from, invaded regions, including the fat, juicy carrots of Afghanistan. Once Arabs discovered the improved carrots, they spread them quickly to trade partners and conquered lands. The crunchy root sped across North Africa and up into Moor-controlled Spain. By the time Ibn al-Awam was writing about carrots in the 12th century, from his home in Andalusia, he not only had several varieties available to him, he had older works to quote from. (He tells us that he preferred the purple carrot to the green and yellow varieties.)

During the Middle Ages, the carrot was one of several root vegetables included in the humble but fairly wholesome diet of the rural poor of northern Europe. British records seem to indicate that people were cultivating carrots in Merry Olde by the twelfth century, though improved strains developed in Holland would not arrive until the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. (Of course, scholars do not agree on precisely when carrots arrived in various places, with variances of 100 to 200 years in estimates of when they had spread north of the Mediterranean countries to which Arab invaders introduced them. But it does not seem likely that anything being eaten in Spain would have escaped the notice of neighbors for two centuries, given Europe’s long trading history. Hence, I’m siding this time with the scholars who date the northward spread of the carrot closer to the time when Ibn al-Awam recorded their availability in Spain, rather than centuries later.)

China got the carrot a little later than Europe did, but it had probably been adopted there by the thirteenth century, if not earlier. The root has never gone out of vogue in the Middle Kingdom, and today, China is far and away the world’s biggest producer of carrots, accounting for more than a third of total world production. (Russia holds the number two spot, growing about 7 percent of the world’s carrots, and the U.S. is a close third at 6 percent.)

The carrot reached the New World with the first colonists. The Spanish introduced the carrot on the island of Margarita, off the coast of Venezuela, sometime in the 1500s. North America, particularly the parts that would become the Thirteen Colonies, got its carrots somewhat later, with the arrival of the fist English settlers. Not too surprisingly, when the English moved into Australia in 1788, carrots were with them there, as well. Records speak of convicts planting carrots within weeks of their arrival, and carrots, along with cabbage, became important foods for Aussie colonials.

Cultivated carrots come in a variety of sizes and shapes: short and stubby, long and thin, blunt, pointy, globular, and everything in between. Orange carrots are pretty much the only ones that are popular today, at least in the West, but white, yellow, green, red, and purple are possibilities. In fact, white, yellow, green, red, and purple were all that existed at one time. Yellow and purple varieties were the ones most often grown in Europe until the 17th century, with red carrots finding their biggest fan base in India (where they are still valued). Orange carrots are a relatively recent development; the familiar, carotene-rich carrot we consume today was developed in Holland as a tribute to William I of Orange, who fought for Dutch independence from Spain in the 1500s. The first evidence of the existence of the orange carrot was in Dutch paintings of the 1600s. This new, orange carrot had a better flavor than its multicolored siblings, and it soon became the most common variety pretty much throughout the world. (Though some high-end grocers are now featuring bunches of multi-hued carrots, for those who wish to experience the differences.)

Carrots are front and center at this market in India.

The next big jump in popularity for the carrot came in the 1800s, with the discovery of vitamins. The knowledge that the vitamins in carrots could prevent night blindness made them a “must have” veggie. Then, in World War II, from aviators eating them to see better during night flights to citizens in both England and the U.S. filling Victory Gardens with the easy-to-grow root, the carrot became almost ingrained, not simply a vegetable, but part of the culture. Who doesn’t eat carrots?

Carotenoids are the pigments responsible for the yellow and orange color of fruits, vegetables, and autumn leaves, and they were so named because the first carotenoid chemically isolated was from a carrot. In addition to orange and yellow, the red color of tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit, apricots, and bell peppers are also carotenoids (though most red colors in plants are caused by a different group of pigments). Carrots have lots of carotenoids, particularly beta-carotene. That means they’re really good for you—but so much has been published of late on how good carrots and carotenoids are for your health, I won’t go into details. Suffice it to say , not only are they great raw, even cooked carrots are healthful. Eat them regularly, and you may always be happy with the response you get to “What’s up, Doc?”

5 Comments on "Eh, What’s Up, Doc?"

Mary

Excellent article! Very interesting!



Barry Strum

A wonderful helping of food anthropology.

Carrots have certainly made their way to the table , the Hollywood cartoon screen, nutritional labs, and sustained millions for centuries as a root vegetable exraordinaire.

I want to take this opportunity to recognize the Parsnip, a most unassuming, low-keyed root vegetable peer.

Though in recent fashion, Parsnips need more credibility than a few quick recipes where it’s featured as an exotic substitute or a zesty additive to otherwise lackluster vegetable ingredients.
NOTE:In the interest of discretion and potential liability, I’ll refrain from anything that might be construed as defamatory here. Accordingly, I mention no other vegetablers by name.

Parnips are widely cultivated but stimulate few varieties among seed companies, heirloom seed collectors, etc. Perhaps their basic hardiness is a factor. Worse, they may suffer from an inherent lack of sexiness.

We need to know more about this winter workhorse. I continue to plant my Cobham variety every year. Yes, I know the Harris model and its improved version….there are perhaps a half-dozen others……..if one searches extensively.

Things could be worse. I might be a devotee of Salsify or God forbid, Scorzonera. Both are quite good, with Salsify often called the “Oyster” plant, as its taste often displays “just shucked” notes.

The Scorzonera is black, which other than the Spanish radish, is pretty much absent from the kitchen (ok, pepper). Take one look as Scorzonera and you know the Evil Eye will be upon you if they aren’t fully eaten………..no starving Chinese kids ploy needed or claims of improved vision like our subject veg above. Heck, I ate carrots until they came out my ears (another mythical cultivation setting) and I’ve had vison & eye problems galore……..starting with the East Eurpopean Ashkenazic Jewish variety of myopia in the fourth grade, just the time you need dorky glasses the least.

Carrots are good for you…(with empirical medical data), they taste good, apparently were witness to the dawn of trade and commerce, and are perhaps ther only vegetable that is associated with a cartoon character’s signature wisecrack.

I still hurt from the vision thing…… jeez, it’s been 50 years for crying out loud…..I think I need to let go……….never mind.



Cynthia

Parsnips are lovely, as well — though they fill a different niche than carrots. One does not simply wash and crunch on a parsnip — they need to be peeled and cooked. But then, they provide an exceptional, sweet, smooth base for anything from soups to cakes. In fact, I had a wonderful parsnip cake in Newfoundland last year — a bit like carrot cake, only a bit softer and sweeter.



John

Hi Cynthia

Great article about the history of carrots.

I run the world carrot museum and have a fairly comprehensive history ( and most other things realted to carrots), but I am intrigued as to your reference material. Particularly in respect of green carrots, as I can find no definitive written records. So can I ask where you learned about these and the writings of Ibn al-Awam?

By the way my carrots in fine art pages has records of orange carrots from around 1560.



Cynthia

I’m a member of a number of culinary history groups, and these particular items were taken from lecture notes. However, I did check first on the Internet, and there are hundreds of items listed — many of them reliable sites (encyclopedias, agriculture schools, etc) — about Ibn al-Awam writing about carrots, so it seemed to confirm what the lecturer had said. As for green carrots, I cannot claim to have uncovered difinitive records, I simply went with what other historians have reported.

And I’m not sure what your point is about the orange carrots. You say “around 1560,” I said “1500s,” so we are not in disagreement. If it is just to clarify, then thank you — I always like adding details to the picture. I kept it somewhat more vague because I figured that the carrots had to be orange for some time before they’d start showing up in paintings.



Comments

Please Leave a Comment!




Please note: Comments may be moderated. It may take a while for them to show on the page.





Features/Archive
Podcast Interviews
Feeds
Everytime Hungry Magazine is updated, you can be notified. Just click on your preferred feed (What's a Feed?) below:

Chef Interview Podcasts Only

All Hungry Magazine Content

Theme By fruta planta