Updated: May 9, 2020
I was raised to eat whatever was put on my plate. If my brothers and I didn’t like what was served for lunch, mom would make us eat it – or at least try it. There were times we attempted to leave the table without eating the food on our plates; we tried throwing tantrums to get served something different (like pancakes haha), to no avail.
Mom would just say “Too bad you don’t like it, there is nothing else to eat. If you don’t eat it now, it will be waiting for you at dinner time.”
When dinner was served, there sat the same food that went uneaten during lunch, while everybody else was eating and enjoying their dinner. And of course, there was no dessert for those who didn’t finish their meal. And, again, tantrums and crying didn’t do anything to move her to compassion.
Now, as I reflect on it, I realize that she stretched me and built something in my character by making me eat all my food. She forced me to take it all, not just the enjoyable parts. She forced me to face things I may not like and move on. Just like life.
I’ve found that there are moments in life, for everyone, when you have to suck it up and move forward to what really matters.
I’m the type of person who is unafraid of the prospect of trying something new. With food, I will taste almost anything – and I have in my many years of world travel. I enjoy new experiences and flavors – and when I’m nervous about trying something, my curiosity (or maybe stupidity at times haha) usually overcomes that fear.
When it comes to flavors (and many other things in life), my mantra is: high risk, high reward!
As mean as it may have been, my mother’s strategy worked! As an adult, I’ve found that I can eat pretty much ANYTHING. What she instilled in me as a child has helped my journey called “life” smoother and happier. When it’s not all I want, or I don’t like something, I know that I can make it work and be content, and I can look forward to dessert – because there’s always dessert at the end of the meal.
People have different ways of approaching change and the “unknown,” and I have seen how difficult it can be for some people to leave their comfort zone and venture to try something new. And I understand it – it’s a personal preference and often a part of personality.
Some wouldn’t dare try something that looks different, or “too exotic” compared to what they are accustomed to, but let’s be real … Have you ever had an idea that something will taste one way, but it turns out to taste completely different than you thought? Maybe you thought it was an awful looking dish and it ended up blowing your mind because of how delicious it was! Or the opposite.
A few weeks ago, I was thinking about all of this while talking to my friend Jazmina.
Jazmina‘s family is the perfect example of the type of people who adapt, work hard, and take the good and bad that life offers, and make the most of it. I treasure memories with them and love them like my own family.
But for a long time, Jazmina’s stubbornness would not allow her to eat carrot cake. The idea of eating a sweet bread made from carrots simply didn’t make sense to her. She’d always associated carrots with other vegetables like potatoes, bell peppers, and onions. Carrots were a savory vegetable, served in soups, salads, etc. Friends would tell her how delicious carrot cake was, telling her she needed to try it. Then one day she decided to make it herself to try it.
Jazmina is a great baker, so she found a recipe and started following the steps, mixing ingredients, and stuck her bread in the oven. As she waited, the aromas wafted from the oven – she probably wondered why she hadn’t tried this before!
Once it was done, she took the warm bread and took a bite. To her surprise, it was delicious! Just as everyone had told her, the bread was dense; it was sweet but not overwhelming; it was perfect partnered with milk or hot coffee.
That day, my friend Jazmina discovered she actually likes sweet carrot bread!
She was so kind to share her wonderful recipe with me, I made it as a cake (circular shape with filling in the middle), and after tasting it, I realized that it would be a wonderful recipe as a loaf or muffins for its dense and firm consistency.
Thank you Jazmina for sharing your recipe and story with all of us!
Jazmina’s carrot bread
3 cups grated carrot
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup milk
4 cups of all-purpose flour
1 cup of vegetable oil
2 tablespoons of vanilla extract
1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1 tablespoon of baking powder
A pinch of salt
4 oz of cream cheese
8 tsp of butter
1 cup of powder sugar
1 tsp of vanilla
2 Tbsp of coconut rum (optional)
A dash of salt
1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon. Mix them well.
3. In a large bowl add eggs, vanilla, oil and sugar and beat until all the ingredients are well mixed. Slowly add the dry ingredients until it is well mixed.
4. Add the grated carrot and mix well.
5. Grease a 9x13 pan and dust with flour. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for about 40 minutes, or until a successful “toothpick test.” (Inserting a toothpick into the middle of the bread and if it comes out clean, the bread is ready)
1. In a large bowl use a hand mixer to beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add powdered sugar, vanilla, coconut rum and a dash of salt. Beat all the ingredients until smooth.
2. Apply it to the top of the bread when it has cooled.
Make this recipe and share your experience with me tagging #johastable