My mother knew I was a redhead the moment she laid eyes on me. The doctor didn’t believe it, but she knew. She tells me the eyebrows gave me away. I was bald, but for those tell-tale red brows.
She was delighted. I was her fifth child and her only red-headed girl. She was finally able to cut my brother C’s red locks, which she had allowed to grow long and wavy causing people to regularly question his gender identity.
I am sure he was relieved.
I didn’t share her warm feelings about my predicament, however. I grew into a chubby child with tons of freckles and uncontrollable frizzy hair. I needed braces and, at one point, a head gear. It was painful. I was the victim of many harsh comments by other children. Children, so innocent in some ways, can truly be mean.
I wanted to be someone else. I wanted to be thin with blond hair like Marcia Brady, but I was more like the awkward Jan. In fact, I took a cue from Jan and tried rubbing lemon juice on my face to erase my freckles. It didn’t work, but that didn’t stop me from further experimentation. I stopped eating carrots for fear they would turn both my hair and freckles brighter shades of orange.
As a teenager, I dyed my hair purple, green, and blue. I got my nose pierced and decided being a punk rocker was the best way to deal with what nature gave me. Sadly, I still resembled Raggedy Ann. And, the white makeup I used to cover the freckles and make myself look geisha-like, it didn’t work either. I stopped wearing it after a passing driver yelled out, “Get a tan!”
Well, I can’t get a tan. That much is clear. I accept this and I now, after many years, I also accept my ginger waves. I sort of like them now. I even like the freckles. My mother used to call them angel kisses. That’s a stretch, but they came in handy during puberty as camouflage for the acne.
I eat carrots now too. In fact, I eat them almost everyday. This, thankfully, has not caused any significant changes in the tone of either my hair or freckles. Today, I share with you one of my new favorite ways to indulge in this lovely orange vegetable. It’s carrot soup flavored with Moroccan spices. If flavors can be beautiful, this is it. And, the best part? It’s ridiculously easy. Enjoy it on a weekday evening with some fresh crusty bread. You will love it.
Moroccan Carrot Soup
1 pound large carrots, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 22/3 cups)
2 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup plain yogurt, stirred to loosen
Melt butter in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 2 minutes. Mix in carrots. Add broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until carrots are very tender, about 20 minutes.
Source: Bon Appetit