Friday, November 25, 2011

Carrot Soup

My mother was born near the beginning of the Great Depression in the dusty cattle town of Sonora, Texas, to parents who never quite assimilated. My Mexican grandparents had crossed the border into the United States to escape the violence of the Mexican revolution but, for a variety of reasons, they never returned to their mother country.

I've often wondered how the family handled Thanksgiving in those early years, whether they celebrated it at all when they first arrived in Sonora.  I'm sure the turkey thing bewildered them and pumpkin pie, too, since in Mexico pumpkin was something they put in their empanadas or made into calabaza en tacha, not into an open-faced pie. Who knows if my grandparents ever prepared a Thanksgiving meal such as we know it today, Norman Rockwell-style. Their main concern was finding a way to feed eleven hungry mouths in a place where Mexicans were regularly rounded up by the U.S. authorities and sent back to Mexico.

Years later, when we celebrated Thanksgiving in our home in Laredo, my mother would invite my aunt and her family who  lived at the time in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. My Mexican relatives joined us for what was a yearly American tradition in our family. It didn't surprise me as a child; I took it for granted. But it fascinates me now to know that my mother absorbed Thanksgiving and other American traditions so readily.

This year, I spent Thanksgiving in Houston with my sister and her family.  I immediately noticed that she'd unwrapped and placed on the table the whimsical ceramic Puritan figurines that once graced my mother's table.  I chuckled and remembered  past Thanksgivings, thinking of loved ones and how, even absent, they influence our lives.

My son would have loved the recipe here, an elegant carrot soup that my good friend, Doña Beatriz of Casa Carmen, makes  from chicken stock.  I made it after Thanksgiving with a stock made from leftover turkey bones.
Carrot Soup

Recipe Type: Soup

Author: Gilda Valdez Carbonaro

Prep time:

Cook time:

Total time:

Serves: 8


  • Turkey or chicken stock

  • 1 ¾ lbs of carrots unpeeled, chopped in 1 inch sections

  • 2 tablespoons thyme

  • Sea salt to taste


  1. Boil the chopped carrots in the clear stock until they are completely soft, about 10 minutes.

  2. Strain them out of the soup and place in a blender with a few ladles full of the soup.

  3. Blend until it is completely smooth, then return the blended carrots to the soup pot.

  4. Add thyme and boil for another 15-20 minutes until the soup acquires a velvety consistency.


  1. The soup was delicious. And nice commentary. Thanks!

  2. Gilda Valdez CarbonaroDecember 22, 2011 at 5:40 PM

    Sounds like you made it. Great!

  3. I tried it and love it. My grandmother also crossed the boarder during the Mexican Revolution. She was a Tarahumara Indian who joined Villa's army along side of her Mexican husband and horse trainer. She was a cook and often had Villa at her campsite. She had a recipe of rattlesnake soup. Very common along with the verdolagas and pinos.

  4. Gilda Valdez CarbonaroJanuary 8, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    I'm thrilled you tried it! I think it's great that you know that family history of your grandmother. And yes, rattlsnake was commonly used (tastes like chicken, right? :) And verdolaga is grows just about everywhere.
    Thanks for writing.


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