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 I was little, my grandpa liked to say, (please excuse my paraphrasing) that it’s a shame that by the time you’re old enough to buy as much ice cream as you want, you can’t eat it all. Now, it’s possible that he meant something a bit more expansive than that statement’s literal interpretation, but odds are, despite my grandpa’s generally serious disposition, he meant exactly what he said. The man loves his ice cream.
Let’s be real, I don’t think anyone is going to get as excited about a recipe for vegetable stock as they would for crack pie, red velvet cake, or even kale chips, but maybe they should. Few things will make as much of a difference to the quality of a dish as homemade vegetable stock.