…because some thoughts are worth remembering
I was fortunate enough to attend an international school where I learned English at a young age. Among the many benefits of mingling with other children from different countries and background, was the aroma in the lunch room.
As if it were her preferred way of traveling the world, my mother made a point to ask me what other kids were bringing for lunch. “Today, an Indian kid brought banana chips, but they were really thin, fried and dusted with curry powder,” I would dutifully report. Sometimes she would pack me an extra おにぎりonigiri or rice ball, so that I can exchange it with something else another willing food enthusiast. “The dumpling from a Taiwanese girl was so different from gyoza!” and my mother would try to guess what made it so different.
One day, she asked me what the Danish girls brought. I shrugged and said, “I’m not sure. They seem to run off in a hurry to play. But I see them with some bread and carrots.” She couldn’t comprehend what I meant by carrots: “Is it a carrot tart? Glazed?” They weren’t. They were raw. They were cut up into sticks*. They came in a plastic bag. The girls made crunchy sounds biting into them on their way to go skip rope. Astonished, my mother exclaimed, “Don’t Danish parents love their children!?”
To this day, I can’t bring myself to just serve raw sticks of carrots. Here’s one of my alternatives:
Spiced-but-not-spicy Marinated Carrots
*Having lived in Denmark over a year, I now realize the role of carrots in Danish cuisine. At least those kids’ carrots were in sticks. I’ve seen huge bowls of peeled but whole carrots submerged in water next to the fruit basket in cafeterias.