Thursday, April 19, 2012

Blanketed Carrots.

Carrots are one of our oldest vegetable foods, and probably also one of our most versatile. They are not merely an easy choice for the orange vegetable on the plate, to be endured because our mothers tell us they will enable us to see in the dark. They can be used in a huge range of dishes, both sweet and savoury – and we have had recipes in the past which have included them in puddings and marmalade, for example.

The origin of the modern domesticated carrot is not certain, but it is thought to have taken place in what is now known as Afghanistan, well over a thousand years ago – perhaps several thousands of years. One of the few things that is certain about its history, is that it was not developed from the so-called wild carrot, which is a different species altogether. It seems that the early carrots were purple, or yellow, and these colours are so old they are new and trendy again. It is said that the modern orange colour was a triumph of Dutch horticulturalists in the seventeenth century, and the story has implications of great portent due to the co-incidence of the struggles of the royal House of Orange against the Spanish. I have no idea if this is truth or fakelore, but it is a nice story.

An article in the Washington Post of July 22, 1935 gave an interesting recipe for carrots under the heading ‘This Novel Recipe Solves the Problem of Leftovers.’ It could just as easily have been described as a solution to the problem of a carrot surplus, I suppose. The recipe title seems to have been inserted at rather an odd place in the text – I assume it is a mistake. I am also not confident that the words ‘paste’ and ‘smeared’ would have helped the writer stimulate any enthusiasm for her indisputably laudable project, but here is the article, for you to decide:

 Paste of Meat, Vegetables, Smeared on Carrots is Tasty.
If you cant think of a pleasing way to use up leftover meats and vegetables this hot weather, try this: Grind the leftovers, both meat and vegetables, together, using first the coarse blade and then the fine one. Cook as many carrots whole as you have ground mixture to cover. Wrap the cooked carrots in a blanket of the ground mixture, which has been seasoned to taste with salt and pepper. A little dry mustard, a few grains of paprika or a few drops of onion juice may be added to the ground mixture if the flavors of the leftovers are such that they demand this extra seasoning. Now dip the blanketed carrots in slightly beaten egg (1 egg to 1 tablespoon of cold water) and then roll in sifted bread crumbs. Fry to a golden brown in deep hot fat (1 minute at 390 degrees F.) Drain on absorbent brown paper, and serve at once. 
Blanketed Carrots. 
Blanketed carrots as they are called for lack of any other name, make a pleasing addition to a vegetable platter. To add to their attractiveness, roll them in finely chopped parsley as soon as they are removed from the brown paper. 

Quotation for the Day. 
Some guy invented Vitamin A out of a carrot. I'll bet he can't invent a good meal out of one.
Will Rogers (1879-1935)

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