McSweeny's New Food Reviews

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Colorless M&Ms

Submitted by Michael de Leeuw

In the midst of the grayest, coldest winter in thirty-seven years, the candy man has taken the last pigment from my bleak existence. I commute, I work, I eat lunch, I work late, I go home. Daylight wakes me up but does not sustain me and does not figure into the rest of my life. My office building is a tower of ugliness in lower Manhattan, and I spend far too much of my life—my prime—here. Somewhere outside, there is a nineteen-year-old film student drawing on her cigarette and getting used to the mouth-feel of her new tongue stud. I will never meet her. Somewhere outside, there is an ignored old man on a park bench with a head full of stories that would captivate anyone who would dare to listen. I won't dare to listen.

And now Colorless M&Ms. They are white, black, and shades of gray. I try them after lunch. They disappoint. I know I am losing my mind: it's the same candy! I work on a brief and distractedly reach for more. Again, they are not the same. I have lost my mind. I walk down the hall and everything is black and white and gray. I feel panic set in. I duck into a conference room to compose myself. I lean my face against the cool window and look out on the chunks of ice floating in the Hudson River. They are gray. The snow in Battery Park is gray. Tomorrow, I will buy Skittles.


Maroon Carrots

In Market Basket, of all places, I spied some maroon carrots, and though I had seen pictures and heard tales, I'd never seen them up close and personal before. So I decided to make friends and take them home.


These are Little Bear Brand Beta Sweet Maroon Carrots, with a Plant Variety Protection Certificate pending by the Texas A & M University System. When I first brought them home, B asked, "are they heirloom carrots?" Genetically modified to pretend they are heirloom, I had to answer. I hadn't really examined them in the store, and I wish I had. I'm not usually into foods with patents. Nonetheless, I had a good time with the maroon carrots, and I have insider knowledge that there will be some genuine heirloom variety organic maroon carrots at the farmer's market this summer. And I won't have to feel doubly bad that I inadvertently supported the Texas economy.

I had thought they were maroon through and through, so I was going to matchstick them, saute them just a moment, then make a sort of lime-ginger-dressing, a bit of a warmed through dish, but with fresh, bright flavors.


But they aren't maroon through and through, so I knew julienne would be dissapointing. Oh for a mandoline! But I managed to slice them, then I decided to steam them just a bit, and so on . . .


Very very yummy, and I'm sure it would be a good quick dish with just plain carrots, though not nearly as fun. When I was imagining this dish, I imagined radishes into it, and when I make it again this summer, I will add them. Hopefully by then a mandoline will appear in my house, because a few paper thin radish slices are just the oomph this dish wants, just that bit of bright crispy summer.

Carrots Yummy Enough To Be Called Dinner
enough for two for a light dinner, or four as a side

4 maroon carrots
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp fresh minced ginger
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbl seasoned rice vinegar
2 tsp light soy sauce
heavy pinch o' salt
1 tbl cilantro, minced

Slice the carrots on the bias into discs, then steam for a brief but intense 3 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the remaining ingredients together. Drain carrots, and toss with dressing.