Without doubt one of the biggest fans of the humble carrot was the industrialist Henry Ford, whose passion for vegetables was perhaps second only to his fondness for the car.
Ford was anti-milk (“the cow is the crudest machine in the world”) and anti-meat (he promoted soybeans in lieu of beef and oatmeal crackers as a substitute for chicken), but he was devoted to the carrot which, he was convinced, held the secret to longevity. At one point he was the guest of honour at a twelve-course all-carrot dinner, which began with carrot soup and continued through carrot mousse, carrot salad, pickled carrots, carrots au gratin, carrot loaf, and carrot ice cream, all accompanied by glass after glass of carrot juice.
One story holds that Ford became interested in the painter Titian when his son Edsel donated a Titian painting (“Judith and the Head of Holofernes”) to the Detroit Institute of Arts. It wasn’t the artist’s work that interested him; it was the fact that Titian had reportedly lived to be ninety-nine. He wanted to know if Titian ate carrots.