Carrots

Bill VanderWerff, my dad

My dad was a health food nut. Long before there was anything like a health food craze, Dad blazed his own trail.

Carrot juice was Dad’s answer to good health. He lugged 25 pound bags of carrots home from the market and we drank carrot juice for breakfast. He created a special concoction from carrots, celery, flax meal, pumpkin seed meal, and lecithin. I actually liked the carrot juice. My brother tolerated it. My sister poured it out of her bedroom window into the flower bed.

I have a vegetable juicer and made carrot juice on and off for years. When I became aware of the whole food movement, I gave up the juicer because I was throwing out “tons” of pulp and fiber from the vegetables I juiced. I now have a VitaMix. I make vegetable smoothies and drink juice, pulp and all.

My mother made carrot and raisin salad that I adored as a child. Though I still love it, I haven’t eaten or made it in years because I no longer eat mayonnaise and haven’t found a substitute. There probably is a substitute; but, I am a purist. If I can’t have the real thing, I’d rather not have it at all.

An avid Julia Child fan, I watched every episode of The French Chef and most of Julia’s later programs. I have copies of many of her cookbooks. Adding a touch of Julia to anything I cooked is a challenge and a delight. I like to steam baby carrots. Julia tosses steamed baby carrots in butter and splashes them with brandy. “Dad!” said my young daughter. “Did you put booze on the carrots?”

I am a health nut on my own. I come by that distinction honestly. I choose to eat a plant-based diet that works well for me and that I enjoy. At a recent Thanksgiving dinner, a family member remarked, “When all of us are gone because we ate this unhealthy Thanksgiving food, your Thanksgivings are going to be pretty lonely, Dennis.”

6 thoughts on “Carrots

  1. Anke Hodenpijl

    Such is the price of the idealist and purist. I love, love, love this post. And your father is a handsome guy and looks like you.

    Reply
    1. Dennis VanderWerff Post author

      When considering food, my purist ideals come from my mother. Don’t even get me started on margarine or Cook Whip. My dad was tall, healthy, and athletic. An excellent swimmer, he cut through the water like an arrow. I think I may have disappointed him in that respect having inherited by mother’s “swimming is staying alive while I’m in the water” gene.

      Reply
  2. Joan Raymond

    I’ve never tried carrot juice, although I love carrots – raw and cooked. I enjoy most vegetables except okra. Somehow ‘tasty’ and ‘okra’ have never been in the same sentence for me.
    I used to eat steamed brussel sprouts with a dab of spaghetti sauce and sprinkle of cheese on them. Everyone thought the combination was weird, but I enjoyed it a lot. (Maybe they were the okra-lovers.)

    Reply
  3. Annis Cassells

    Ah, dear Dennis, we could trade Dad-and-his-juicer stories. Were our dads related? Carrot juice, celery juice, beet juice. We kids hated to look in the fridge. Then Dad added wheat germ. Thankfully, I was out of the house by then.

    You brought back my childhood of shelves of pint jars labeled with the name of the herbs they contained. We were careful not to complain about how we felt and made sure Dad never heard us cough. The cure always seemed worse than the ailment. xoA

    Reply

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