Essay: Carrots

Jun 25, 2018

I am late getting home from class and my husband has already started supper. As we drink a beer at the kitchen table, I hear a lid rattling on the stove. “Should you turn the carrots down?” I ask, and Dick runs to turn off the burner.

Carrots are stuck to the bottom of the pan and I am reminded of another cooking experience. “When my mother started working full-time, she would ask me to get dinner ready,” I tell Dick. “Once, I was cooking green beans and burned them black.”

“What did she say?” he asks.

“She said, ‘I’ve burned lots of beans; let’s have carrots instead.’”

“Pretty nice of her,” Dick says. 

“Especially since I burned the carrots, too.”

Now, the taste of burned carrots makes me happy, remembering my mother. Although she could be strict about many things, she could sometimes surprise me with her tenderness.

As a little girl, I tried to make a bird bath out of her favorite glass cooking dish and dropped it on the cement sidewalk. I was sobbing when I carried the shards into the house, but there was no spanking. “You didn’t do it on purpose,” she said. “I used to get spanked for spilling milk, but nobody spills milk on purpose.”

Or burns carrots.