Saturday, May 14, 2011

Weekend Cooking #10: Victory through Carrots

Remember when you were a kid and your mom told you to eat your carrots because they are good for your eyes.

Well, it turns out that this is a myth and we have a fellow named John “Cat’s Eyes” Cunningham to thank for it. Cat’s Eyes was an RAF officer during the war and one of the best combat pilots. During his flying career, Cat’s Eyes destroyed 19 out of 20 enemy aircraft at night, and this apparently was a very good record. Well, the government didn’t want anyone to know that the real reason he was so good at what he did was because he was using some new called Airborne Interception or radar. So a story was devised by the British government that Cat’s Eyes really liked carrots and he, along with a select group of fellow pilots, has eaten large quantities of carrots for years to develop their good vision. Hence, the great Carrot Cover Up was born. They even went so far as to create a poster to this effect.

And it wasn’t it lucky that carrots were not rationed during the war, so this myth could be perpetuated on the youth of the world ad infinitum, both during and after the war. The truth is that while carrots are indeed healthy, they do not help your vision one bit. But they did play a large part in World War II recipes. For one thing, carrots could be used as a substitute for sugar, which was rationed, in many recipes. And then there is always the delicious looking carrot lollipop –

The New York Times offered many carrot recipes to wartime cooks, including the following which works very nicely with chicken, in case you don't fowl available.

I have actually tried it out, tempted by the curry used for it.

John Cunningham became a real folk hero to many people in Britain and it is easy to see how that could happen given was a rather good looking fellow.
To read more about John “Cat’s Eyes” Cunningham, who sadly passed away in 2002, be sure to visit Air Space

To see more about the important role of carrots in World War II, be sure to visit the World Carrot Museum where you can also find a very nice variety of carrot recipes.

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post at Beth Fish Reads


  1. Great post, interesting info on the carrots! I knew about the rationed carrots because a friend mine, years ago, once gave us a taste of something, can't remember what, but I remember that she told us how her grandma had used carrots in a lot of things to sweeten because of the war rations!

  2. Oh, that's too bad it's a myth. I eat carrots every day, I love them that much. Of course, I also wear glasses so I don't totally believe the stories. But I did tell my children that story and now my grandchildren.

    On dish that I especially love is carrot cake. I wonder if it came out of this era. I'll have to check that out. Good post.

  3. Thanks so much for this post! Sad to hear it's a myth, although that does explain why I have to wear glasses, despite my love of carrots.

  4. Interesting post. I didn't know this. I visited the carrot museum site, very cool. Thanks.

  5. So interesting! I knew that it was a myth but never knew why, I'm so glad you enlightened us. I just so happened to be making curried chicken tonight, but I'll be sticking with a different recipe.

  6. Great post... very interesting!

  7. What a fascinating post :)
    I never would have guessed that there is a World Carrot museum!

  8. Wow, I've always believed the carrot myth. What a great post -- and who knew there was a carrot museum?

  9. This was a fun post to write so I am glad people enjoyed it. I find it very amusing that there is a carrot museum. Carrots aren't my favorite veg, but I will eat them, mostly as carrot kinpira since I like to bento.

  10. Impressive posting..You inspire me on daily basis..

  11. Hi, I loved the article about carrots - it fitted nicely with an article on "plastic bag avoidance" I am doing. Hope you don't mind but I've used a bit of your article - sincerest form of flattery etc! Would you like to link swap?

    I'm at: