My Celery Obsession

   People seldom think about celery. You never see it featured on a menu. There is no cook book entitled ‘101 Ways to Prepare Celery’. However celery is one of my very favorite veggies and my grocery list is not complete without celery.
   My first memory of celery is from my grandparent’s kitchen in southern Louisiana. Gumbo was a production number that required all hands on deck including very small ones. The first round of garlic, onion, bell pepper, parsley, and celery was minced very fine. It would eventually ‘melt’ into the mixture of roux and broth over several hours so that no individual particles were visible. On the second round the very same vegetables were chopped and added so that they would be tender but not melted at serving time. Celery was my favorite. I loved the smell of it and I would nibble the tiny little center leaves that were too hard to chop without involving fingers as well.
   As a ballet student calorie became part of the vocabulary and here celery was a star. It was crisp, crunchy, and delectable and something about it made my body flush water (now I know this was the potassium) and I felt better for it. I would watch cats and dogs eat grass and wondered if that was their version of celery.
   The first thing that I do to my bunch of celery at home it is pull it apart, wash it and separate the tender light green stalks from the coarse outer stalks and the darker green leaves. The pale sections get wrapped in a damp towel and stashed in the veggie drawer of the fridge. The remainder is finely diced, slivered and simmered in a stainless steel saucepan with a small amount of water until tender. This is stored in a glass refrigerator container until it is needed. Sometimes I keep a bit out and eat it warm with a sprinkle of sea salt and ground pepper – quality control, of course!
   The cooked celery is a major part of my Rice and Beans recipe – I often add lots more celery than the recipe calls for. I do this partly because it stretches my lunches out over another day or so but also because I really like the taste and texture. On short notice it may serve as a hot vegetable at dinner.
   The crunchy raw stuff goes in salads of all kinds including fruit salad, vegetable salad or tuna salad. It gets packed in a lunch bag stuffed with peanut butter or with a very small container of blue cheese dressing. Occasionally it is stuffed with pimiento cheese but peanut butter is still the first choice. If I feel bloated a few small pieces of plain raw celery for a bedtime snack washed down with a glass of water usually takes care of the problem. Love the stuff . . . .



  1. gfveg said

    i go through so much celery each week that it’s ridiculous!
    (and i don’t even do anything interesting with it)
    i just cant seem to make a salad without slicing up at least two stalks.
    now that i have a mandoline, i slice up the two and think, oh, i can fit another one, and soon i have not a tossed salad but a celery salad with other stuff in it.

    i love celery.
    thank you for writing about it.

  2. […] here: it is fast if you have a ready supply of diced, boiled celery in the fridge (Mom has that Celery Obsession). Otherwise there is some preparation of the […]

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