Plainclothes Feast

A weekly peek at one dinner table, in the heart of one home, in the center of the country

Roasted Carrot Ribbons

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Gah. My kids are getting big. Or, maybe not “big”–as I predicted many years ago, my husband and I have produced very tiny little people–but old(er). Nine, seven, and five. No longer babies. Each one inching a little further into full-blown selfhood every day.

Here’s proof:

  1. Our big boy has begun to talk about who “like-likes” him and who “like-likes” other people. He declared last week that if Draven really like-likes Grace he should definitely stop doing everything he can think of to annoy her. “That,” he said, “is not a good way to get a girl to like-like you back.” If he can keep ahold of that insight for just a few more years, he’ll be the heartthrob he’s cut out to be. Seriously, these brown eyes are designed to break hearts.


2.  A couple of months ago, my daughter broke her arm while riding her scooter. I still remember breaking my arm when I was about her age. I even remember the sound of the saw they used to remove my grungy plaster cast. No doubt this realization sounds banal, but my mind keeps coming back to it: I was myself then, when I broke my arm, more than 30 years ago. I was making use of the very same assortment of axons and dendrites and synapses that I use today. And that means…she’s herself, too. Someday, her daughter will break an arm and she’ll remember this:

broken arm

And maybe even she’ll remember “the filling of” her own run-in with the rotary saw:


3. Our little guy is playing tee ball…and looking great doing it!

Little Marlin

This sport involves three of his favorite activities: running in circles, whacking things as hard as he can, and kicking around pea gravel.

On a slightly different note, yesterday afternoon, while my boys were outside playing, I noticed they were no longer digging in the backyard. I walked out front to look for them and saw that they were crouching side by side on the front steps, facing the street. “What you guys doing?” I asked. (I honestly don’t think I’d ever seen my boys sitting still unless they were strapped down, eating, and/or staring at a screen.)

“Talking,” our big boy said, seriously.

“Yeah, talking,” our little boy echoed.

“About what?” I asked.

“Oh,” said the older one, “about what would hurt more: tiger teeth or cactus spines.”

Older but still young, I guess. And I love it.

But the good news is this: Little Guy seems finally to be growing into vegetables…now and then…in certain forms.

This particular recipe knocked his socks off the first time I made it. The second time I made it, I used half carrots and half beets, turning the entire dish a gorgeous garnet color: I wanted to wear it, but Little Guy did not want to eat it.

Tonight, I went back  to the original vision. There is nothing fancy here. No expensive ingredients. No unusual equipment. Just this: Carrots, onions, olive oil, salt. A peeler. A cookie sheet. A smokin’ hot oven. And a little bit of elbow grease. Watch this…

Roasted Carrot Ribbons

1 pound of carrots

1/2 sweet onion

1-2 tablespoons olive oil


  1. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees.
  2. Peel your carrots…And then keep going. Turn the carrots into ribbons, rotating them as you work them with the peeler.

You will wind up with a huge bowl of carrots, a sinkful of vegetable waste, and some weird little nubby parts that you can’t quite ribbonize, unless you know some trick I don’t know. This takes some time, but it is a good task to do while hovering in a meditative trance or while listening to All Things Considered and the maniacal sounds of your growing-older children running crazily in the backyard.


2. Slice half an onion very thinly, into half moons, and add them to the bowl of carrot ribbons.


3. Toss with olive oil and then spread onto a cookie sheet. Then sprinkle generously with coarse salt.

4. Pop into a your blazing-hot oven. Stir them every couple of minutes until the carrots are tender and beginning to caramelize. Add salt to taste and serve.


Tonight, we ate ours as a part of a Friday afternoon picnic with grilled pizzas. They were even tasty on paper plates!


Then off to tee ball practice…

It’s a tough life, being the mother of three old(ish) kids, but somebody’s gotta do it.



One thought on “Roasted Carrot Ribbons

  1. I’m gonna try this. 🙂

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