The Icing Carrot: Things That Matter, Some Of Which I Can’t Explain

Food. I am a fan. Yet there are certain things that matter in certain dishes that I can’t explain.

Let’s Start Simple.

Baked Ziti, a dish with beef, 3 cheeses, and Z...

Image via Wikipedia

I love Pasta. I think it is sort of a genetic thing in me. I could eat it every day. I consider pasta a food group.

However, it is my position that certain shaped pastas go with certain dishes. Baked Ziti is called that for a reason. Alfredo sauce on elbow macaroni is wrong. Macaroni and Cheese made with spaghetti just can’t happen. Same basic product in different shapes. Why is there a difference?

I don’t know.

Why Are Some Things Only Good In Certain Places?


The Holy Goodness (image via

My example here is the sandwich that I consider a blessed sacrament, the Cuban Mix Sandwich.


The ingredients for the holy deliciousness that is the Cuban Mix are available in many places, but I have never had a good one outside the state of Florida. I’m certain they make them well in Cuba, but I can’t really get over there.

The only in Florida effect is so strong that I have decided never to eat one anywhere in the United States that is not Florida. But why? Why can’t they be made anywhere else?

I don’t know.

You Might Think It Is Supposed To Be Green

I like Key Lime pie.

I am very picky about Key Lime pie. Key Lime pie should never be green. Why is this so?

Because ripe Key Limes are yellow.

I know that, so this is a short section.

The Icing Carrot

This Cake Is So Good Someone Has Taken An Excessively Large Slice (image via

Carrot Cake. A vegetable, a cake, icing made with cream cheese. It’s got three food groups. How can you not not love carrot cake?

There is one simple thing that separates good carrot cake with exceptional carrot cake. I believe if the same cook mixed a double batch of carrot cake batter, baked it in two separate pans and iced the resulting cakes from the same batch of icing, one of those cakes would be better than the other.

The difference? The better of the cakes has an icing carrot, rendered in orange and green icing, on each slice. Why does this make a difference?

I don’t know.


30 Comments on “The Icing Carrot: Things That Matter, Some Of Which I Can’t Explain”

  1. I never thought about any of this before. And now I’m very hungry.

  2. Betty says:

    Bagels are properly good only when made in NY. It’s the water. You may have a bagel that you *think* is good from some where else, but it’s not a real bagel.

  3. Hi oma:

    I have never had a “Cuban Mix sandwich”…what’s in it?

    I appreciate your point about carrot cake…since neither Devin nor his grandfather will eat chocolate, carrot cake is our substitute for them whenever someone has a birthday…nobody makes one, we just buy it. It always has the carrots on the top!


    • omawarisan says:

      The sandwich has roasted pork, ham, salami, swiss cheese, pickles, mustard on cuban bread. It is heated in a press. Really good stuff!

      I’m glad that you look for the mark of quality on your carrot cakes!

  4. Abe's Blog says:

    Oh, I love to eat, too! And carrot cake is a favorite of mine. The tiny frosting carrots on the top are delicious, but they serve a practical purpose–sort of a hold-over from the Days of Yore when it was important to be polite. Each carrot serves as a marker to show the Eater of Cake what is an appropriate slice size. One carrot’s worth is all one should take (this is where the original phrase, “I’ll just have a carrotsworth”, originated). However, the rules are slice-at-a-time rules, meaning that after you eat one carrotsworth, you may have another, provided the cake-maker is not looking.

  5. Zahara says:

    I’m gonna need a Cuban Mix Tutorial so I can make one that tastes like California.
    I say scrape off those food-coloring infested faux vegetables and get down to some real cake.
    Surely you’ve checked out “Cake Wrecks”, the blog? They have mohawk baby carrot jockeys for a mascot.

    • omawarisan says:

      I’ll have to look up Cake Wrecks.

      Oh no, never mind doing one like california. Get on a plane and get to florida. If you created all the ingredients of a sandwich in FL, flew it to another state along with an experienced sandwich maker and then assembled it, it would be wrong.

  6. linlah says:

    Cause it has carrots ON it, duh!

  7. This is a great post Oma. My favorite line of truth, wisdom, and beauty:

    “Macaroni and Cheese made with spaghetti just can’t happen.”

    Seriously. That can NEVER happen. It would be blasphemy.

    • omawarisan says:

      Thank you ma’am.

      This, like so many other things, goes back to the wisdom imparted by the Omawari-son:

      Some good things don’t go good together, like Chinese food and cheese.

  8. Todd Pack says:

    Few things are better than a Cuban sandwich washed down with a bottle of Jupina, which is a brand of pineapple soft drink. I’ve had only one Cuban sandwich since we left Florida. I miss them.

  9. Wow Oma, such wise observations! I share your pasta passion and I will be sure to only buy carrot cakes with the little carrots on top from now on! 🙂

    • omawarisan says:

      Oh I was raised eating it a couple times a week. It drives me crazy to hear “we just had that the day before yesterday”. So? It is spaghetti, you’re supposed to.

  10. spencercourt says:

    I can attest to the superiority of New York pizza.

    I find you comment about Cubans interesting. I travel a lot but don’t recall seeing a lot of Cuban restaurants, now that I think about it. (Not that I sought them out either, since I look for more “exotic” fare when I travel.) So why a Cuban from Florida is superior….

    Since you were in Miami, I’m sure you had a good one. When in Tampa, check out the Cuban Sandwich Shop on Florida Avenue.

    BTW, did you make it to Richard is Here….Fruit Stand?

    • omawarisan says:

      My trip is this week, so Richard is Here is on the agenda!

      Periodically someone attempts a Cuban restuarant in Charlotte. It never lasts. I think people don’t know what to expect food wise.

      That, and we’ve got a lot of mouth breathers who think Jesse Helms will rise from the grave and smite them for entering the place.

  11. Katybeth says:

    If you are ever in Chicago treat yourself to a piece of Maude’s carrot cake. I don’t particularly like carrot cake but everyone like’s Maude’s carrot cake. It’s moist with a luscious cream cheese frosting and it’s even organic. Organic usually makes me suspicious but in the case of Maude’s carrot cake it works.

  12. Key Lime Pie and Carrot Cake in the same post. I’m so hungry now. I’m 101% with you on the icing carrots. You gotta have them. I think it’s because there’s no such thing as too much icing.

    • omawarisan says:

      You are right on no such thing as too much icing. In fact, at minimum, all cakes should have enough icing so that when you eat the cake out from under the icing, the icing stands up on its own.

  13. You echo my sentiments exactly. Salad is this way, too. It never tastes right when I make it at home, but if someone else makes it with the same ingredients, it’s better. And as for the icing: it’s the same with decorated cakes. I don’t know why, but I must eat the icing red rose petal, or the blue icing pants from Spider Man.

  14. Brooke says:

    I love carrot cake. Sadly, I do not put iced carrots on mine. The thing that separates good carrot cake from bad carrot cake is raisins.

  15. […] Cuban Mix sandwich is a sacred thing. I’ve expressed my bond to the holy sandwich before. I’m certain I will mention it again some time; that is how this bit of heaven on bread […]

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