Sometimes I feel like I should change the name of this blog to I LoveSmittenKitchen.com; more often than not, the recipes there are inspiring, well written, and above all delicious. So it’s little surprise that many of the recipes I’ve written about here came to me via Deb. Most of her recipes are near perfect written as is, so I’ll only make minor tweaks, but sometimes I just can’t leave well enough alone.
I’d wager that few would rate their middle-school years as a favorite time in their lives. An awkward period at best, its a time for trying on new identities and seeing what sticks; throw in puberty (or lack of signs thereof) and you’ve got a recipe for angst and anxiety aplenty. In addition to the usual woes of that age, I started off 6th grade as the new girl in school. Apprehensive to say the least, I chose to take the optimistic route and take it as an opportunity for reinvention. Why not try on a new persona, or at least name for size?
When I was little, carrots were often touted as having the mystical ability to boost one’s vision to near super-human levels*. Now, I’m not sure of the exact origin of this myth, but I could imagine the thought percolating in the mind of a frustrated mom, sick of employing the usual tactics to convince her children to eat their vegetables. Let’s be real, it wasn’t much of a stretch, carrots are an easy sell; combine their cheery orange hue, vibrant crunch, and sweet flavor with the promise of superpowers, and it’s no surprise to see their resounding popularity amongst the lunchbox set and beyond.
*Naturally this myth has some grounding in truth, as one of the nutrients abundant in carrots (beta-carotene) does play a role in vision. A diet with insufficient levels of Vitamin A and/or it’s precursor beta-carotene can result in eye problems, but this really isn’t an issue for the vast majority of people in the developed world, you know, unless you subsist on a diet of chicken nuggets. The danger of consuming too much Vitamin A, or any nutrient really, (supplements are scary stuff; carrots pose little risk unless you’re literally eating bushels of them) is far worse. Bottom line (and the end of my rambling tangent on nutrition): please don’t take supplements unless explicitly directed to do so by your doctor or RD. Then again, why are you taking nutritional advice from someone who practically considers Pixy Stix a food group?
When my mom was a little girl, her dad would threaten to put any vegetables she didn’t finish eating at dinner under her pillow (broccoli usually played a starring role in this story), to be eaten, mushy and cold, the next day for breakfast. Now, I’m not sure if it ever actually came to that (gosh, I hope not), but I’d hazard to say that this scare tactic did little to encourage her interest in green vegetables. Nowadays, my mom is a grown woman (one would hope – right?) with children of her own, and despite that early roadblock eats her vegetables with relish, but I’d wager that she missed out on a few years of cruciferous-veggie-munching largely due to that early trauma.
I seem to be having a moment with vegetables that I generally find suspect. First
onions scallions, now celery, soon to be discussed: kale. Unusually enough, I found my “renewed” interest in celery (not sure if I ever had any) began with a cocktail. Now, I’ve found that my interest in many things is increased when booze is involved, but rarely is the point of interest so wholesome as green vegetables. So, I’d like to say a brief thank you to gin (yay, gin!) for inspiring me to venture out into the wide world of celery based noshing. More specifically, I’d like to thank the Southern Exposure*, a fantastic cocktail at Alembic, which incidentally is one of my favorite bars in San Francisco.
*Alembic’s description of the Southern Exposure: “Another refreshing elixir plucked straight from the garden, our spin on the classic southside uses Junipero gin, fresh mint, lime juice, a touch of sugar and a little shot of fresh celery juice. Loaded with antioxidants to help deal with the Haight’s population of free ‘radicals’.”