Why are carrots orange?

Carotene. However, if you happen to come across heritage varieties, you’ll notice carrots run through a spectrum of white through to yellow to hues of deep purple. So what caused the dominance of the orange carrot? Ex-Cambodia Daily editor and current Washington Post staffer Suzy Khimm delves into the political history of the carrot, which traditionally links the rise of orange variety to the Dutch House of Orange – a tale which may be of questionable authenticity:

As it turns out, the political history of carrots is more murky and complicated. The  World Carrot Museum–an unsigned, virtual repository of information that Next Nature cites in its original post–calls the link to the House of Orange an “apocryphal” tale dreamed up by historians, though it fails to provide any specific citations for its own conclusion. 

What is clear, however, is that the Dutch themselves have used the orange carrot as a political weapon during the rise and fall of the House of Orange. According to historian Simon Schama, in the late 18th century, the Dutch Patriot movement that revolted against the House of Orange saw the vegetable as an offensive tribute to the monarchy. After forcing the reigning descendent of William of Orange to leave the Hague, the Patriots declared that orange was “the color of sedition…carrots sold with their roots too conspicuously showing were deemed provocative,” Schama writes in his book, “Patriots and Liberators.” To this day, many in the Netherlands attest that orange carrots were originally a tribute to the House of Orange, as various Dutch tourism outfits will attest.

Orange carrots don’t get mentioned in literature until about 1100.

“Fetal bovine serum, you say”

A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with bio-artist Oron Catts which probably rates as one of the strangest I’ve ever had. I used the words “fetal bovine serum” far too often for somebody who writes about food. He spoke of his work as “semi-living” where I might have used the term “undead”. His art left me with the dissonant feelings of both complete repulsion and the obsessive desire to find out more.

So this week over at SBS, I take on ethicist Peter Singer and PETA regarding their support of laboratory-grown meat. Why not take on some big targets?

It’s as goddamn weird as food gets.

Kimchi jeon (김치전)

kimchijeon ingredients

I’ve personally eaten half a kilo of kimchi this week. There have been no ill effects. Something about the idea of Korea’s national obsession being shot into space has piqued my tastebuds. Their mastery of the controlled fermentation of coleslaw is no longer earthbound.

A recipe for kimchi jeon is about the laziest that a recipe can be before it becomes a convenience food. If I described it as a kimchi pancake, then chances are that you could cook one just by guessing, even if you didn’t know kimchi from Lil’ Kim. There are four ingredients and if you’re reading this blog, I’ll bet that you already own three of them.


100gms of plain flour
150gms of kimchi
2 eggs
100ml of water

Kimchijeon batter

Mix flour, eggs and water, stir through kimchi.


Fry on both sides, then cut into bite-size pieces.