I’m sure many of you are familiar with the whole “baby carrots” debate. Dipped in formaldehyde or turpentine or something very bad for you, they’re stripped of nutrition, totally worthless, and as my friend Brent said “you might as well be eating cardboard.”


On a purely aesthetic level, baby carrots are like tiny little you-know-whats. They’re girlie diet food. The MacDonalds of healthy eating, baby carrots are for people with no imaginations.


Now I’m no food scientist and I’m certainly not acquainted with all the facts (which are maybe overstated and untrue) but the minute I started hearing the debate I stopped buying baby carrots and I’m so glad. It was like I rediscovered the carrot. Real carrots are much tastier and they don’t get all white and mouldy when they sit in the fridge for too long. Regular carrots are also more handsome, especially when they’re fresh with a bouquet of green stems still attached.  But I also like the giant bags of pantry carrots, they have real weight, last for weeks, always ready to be used in soups, stir fries, or chopped finely into a pilaf. Like a solid man with a sense of values, a big bag of carrots gives me a sense of security. And the size? Much more impressive!!


The FC loves his carrots as much as Bugs Bunny and he like to eat them whole, like a real man should.  As for me,  I like my carrots cut into slices so you can see the underlying layers of colour and texture– and they’re much better for dips. I’m also captivated by those trippy multi-coloured ones that are becoming more and more popular in Montreal.


Welcome back real carrots. I love you!


 Cumin Carrot Soup





My friend Louisa, a terrific cook who’s dinner invitations always fill me with anticipation, whipped up this beauty of a carrot soup the other night. The pecans and butter propel the sometimes-humble carrot soup into a whole new stratosphere of sex appeal. Yet it’s not-overly exotic either, which is refreshing, since I find the usual coconut, garlic, ginger coriander jamboree often drowns out the carrots. Instead, this soup lets the carrot’s essential flavour remain central. A perfect soup for entertaining. Here’s the recipe.




1 medium onion, chopped (3/4 cup)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2-3 large carrots, sliced thin (about 1 3/4 cups)

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste

2 cups water (or chicken broth, Louisa uses broth)

2 tablespoons pecans, chopped coarse

1 teaspoon unsalted butter for tossing the toasted pecan garnish




Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Cook onion in butter over moderate heat, stirring until softened. Add carrots, cumin and salt and cook, stirring 1 minute. Addd water or broth and simmer, covered, 25 minutes or until carrots are very tender. 


Meanwhile, on a baking sheet, toast pecans in the middle of oven until fragrant or one shade darker. Toss pecans with butter and salt to taste. In a blender puree soup until smooth. Divide soup between bowls and top with pecans.


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