Friday, April 10, 2009

My First Weird Carrot

There has been many a weird carrot featured on this blog, but they have always been passed on to me by other sources (well, mainly from Weird Veg satellite Leafy Heirloom). Then, a couple weeks ago, on my way to a dinner party hosted by the elegant Kathryn, vegname Chardstem Corn, I dug around in my crisper and grabbed a bag of small carrots I'd picked up from Heirloom Organics, one of my favorite farm stands at the S.F. Ferry Plaza market. And there, at Chardstem's kitchen table, she emerged in a spray of lacy green frills--my very own weird carrot in all her Botero-esque glory.

We couldn't bear to eat her just yet and instead elected her mascot of our salmon feast. I was going to name her Eve, but then remembered that Lilith had been the first woman, the one who had been banished for insisting on her equality with Adam, as the Hebrew myth goes.

The next day, I took her to meet her namesake sculpted by Kiki Smith, whom I like to think of as my artist earth mother (with Sophie Calle as my creepy-cool auntie). The Liliths stared at each other for awhile in knowing silence, but then my carrot lady became restless and wanted to know more of this new world above ground. So I sat her down with my cats and frog from the Ben Thanh market in Saigon.

Lilith found their fastpaced banter amusing, but soon tired of their endless musings on the color of Walter Benjamin's aura and the origins of German tragic drama, of their heated debates over what exactly the poetic embodiment of Coleridge's organic form would look like. It was all a little, well, wooden. Perhaps too much time spent on the bookshelf... She needed something fresher, more natural. It was time to explore the garden.

At the base of the angel trumpet tree, Lilith met a very nice, very rosy strawberry. They exchanged anecdotes of soil and earthworms and sat for some time basking in the sun like cats. The strawberry was a decent companion, but was just too cloyingly cute she felt, like those Japanese fruits.

Trailing morosely through my neighbor's orchid collection on her stubby root stems, Lilith watched the clouds pass in the sky. She sighed under the weight of this world that had so many new things in it. And then, like that, she happened upon the most lovely tree oyster mushroom. They crashed into each other like trains (whatever those were; she had never actually seen one before), had a passionate affair under the stars, and parted with bittersweet kisses the next morning, bathed in the golden hues of dawn.

Lilith had learned and experienced many important things in Purgatory, but my carrot's wilting body told me it was time for her to disperse into atoms and rejoin the universe in a new form. My friend Zoe (née Zohar), who comes from the Kennedys of the rabbinical world, said a prayer for her little carrot soul, and then we ate her with great pleasure and appreciation.


Leif Hedendal said...


(Original Key: E)

Verse 1:

I'm gonna be 'round my vegetables.
I'm gonna chow down my vegetables.
I love you most of all, my favorite vegetable.

Chorus 1:

If you brought a big brown bag of 'em home,
I'd jump up and down and hope you'd toss me a carrot.

Travis White said...

Jenni's Myspace picture is in front of that sculpture at the MOMA! It is frightening.

kale daikon said...

I knew Jenni was a keeper! The sculpture Lilith in the photo here actually comes from a page of the book I have from Kiki's retrospective, Kiki Smith: A Gathering, if you were wondering about the scale. The book is really gorgeous:

Yan said...

Congratulations on your very own weird carrot!!! You should consider entering her in the Weird Carrot Contest: