Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Carrot Box

This cheerful hand-painted wooden box was found at a Missouri antique mall some years ago and, charmed, I bought it, for, like, $12. Inside, it's just plain painted wood, no lining, no compartments, no decoration. I guessed it's for vegetables -- winter root vegetables that like darkness and room (not heaped on top of each other; onions or potatoes all heaped up will quickly go bad). I keep this "carrot box" or "carrot coffin" in the unheated laundry room that serves as my root cellar, and use it for onions. When the thermometer in there approaches freezing I save the onions from turning to acrid mush by moving the box into a heated room.

I looked up "carrot box" to see if such boxes were somehow traditional, and also learn the reason for their treasure-chest shape, but a "carrot box" today means a cardboard gift box in the shape of a long cone. Classic wooden vegetable bins hold a lot more vegetables and look nothing like this. This box, painted with 11 clean, idealized carrots, very witty, holds approximately 3 pounds of produce.

1 comment:

Pablo said...

I understand that the arched top on travel trunks (the big version of your carrot box) were developed after ocean-going travel became more commonplace. Trunks with flat tops were pile one atop the other in holds of ships for long voyages, and their collected weight would crush the ones on the bottom. So arched tops were developed to prevent them from having anything put on top of them. I don't know if that's true, but it sounds sensible.