During my childhood, my mother persistently warned me that if I ate too much of one thing, then I would turn into that food item. Each time I heard this, I immediately thought of Violet Beauregarde inCharlie in the Chocolate Factory turning a distinct hue of blue and inflating with juice to become a human blueberry. With this in mind, I became very cautious about eating too much of certain foods, mostly fruits and vegetables. Despite the foods’ nutritional benefits, my fears of transforming into something edible made me very selective in my food choices.
One food I came to shun was the carrot. Ignorant about the benefits of the vegetable’s carotene richness, I thought any enjoyment of the carrot would result in my skin tinting orange. Although some people might like the orange look (I’m talking to you, Snooki and the rest of the “Jersey Shore” cast), I preferred my skin in its natural shade. Because of this, I avoided carrots in any form.
That was until I discovered carrot cake.
Maybe it was because the vegetables were baked with butter and cinnamon and hidden under smooth cream cheese icing, but I rarely turned down an offer of a bite of carrot cake. I convinced myself that the various other ingredients in the cake would offset any chance of my becoming anOompa Loompa. Yet, there were occasions when I did say “no” to the dessert. I came to despise any carrot cake recipe with chopped nuts or raisins. Ironically, I preferred my cake to have as little interfering with the vegetables as possible.
Fortunately for my waistline and my overall health, now I actually consume carrots beyond the realm of baked goods. Carrots are such a versatile ingredient that can be incorporated into savory and sweet recipes. Braised, glazed, sauteed, pureed — these are just a few of the many cooking techniques for the vegetable. But even with all these different preparations, I still prefer my carrots in dessert form, making the chance of an orange glow worth every bite.