Celery? More Like Hellery

I try not to get political on this blog, so I’ll leave her position on the minimum wage, carbon emissions and whether or not The Lion King is `gay propaganda’ out of here. But regardless of your personal leanings, I think we can all agree former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has the most controversial and offensive favorite food of all time.

It’s celery. Barf.

I know, I know, celery is supposedly “the healthiest food in the world,” and its marketing team has done an excellent job convincing consumers they burn more calories chewing it than they take in. But let’s be real here for a second: It’s terrible. It’s fibrous and stringy and smelly and gross, and unless it’s doused in ranch dressing or peanut butter or cream cheese with raisins, it should be avoided at all costs.

Much like trying to do floor stretches when you live with a needy Swiss dog.

At least, that’s my take. Apparently the rest of the world doesn’t despise celery as much as I do, making me wonder if celery is my cilantro — a totally innocuous flavor for most that for some reason tastes to me downright offensive. I can handle it raw, like in a tuna salad, but throw celery into a sofrito or a stock or a mirepoix, and I swear it overpowers the entire thing. Sorry, world: This vegetable gets no love in my book.

So imagine my distress when I opened my CSA two weeks ago to discover the biggest head of celery this blogger has ever seen.

Stalks have not been enlarged to show texture.

I pride myself in successfully polishing off each CSA fully before the next one arrives, so when I first saw that bad boy 11 days ago, I put my disgust aside and came up with a game plan to put it to good use. After googling “celery recipes for people who don’t like celery,” I decided to make several celery-starring dishes to hopefully discover I’d been wrong about it all along. I found these three, which seemed totally out of the box and maybe just the kick I needed to finally understand this vegetable’s appeal:

  • Braised Celery with Tomatoes, Chickpeas & Bacon (link)
  • Challah, Mushroom and Celery Stuffing (link)
  • Celery and Fennel Gratin (link)

They were going to be delicious! They were going to be life changing! They were going to change my mind about celery once and for all!

They didn’t happen.

My next CSA comes tomorrow, and for the first time this summer, I’ll pick up a new box with one giant, unused vegetable still sitting in my fridge. To be fair, it hasn’t gone totally untouched: in addition to the above photo shoot, I also tossed a handful of the leaves into a veggie broth this weekend as an act of good faith. Of course, that made the broth taste like death, in my humble opinion, and I immediately regretted the decision, but at least a little of the celery went used.

So I’ve got to know, good people: is there a way to cook celery that honestly tastes good? I suppose I’d scarf it down if I filled it with shredded buffalo chicken and blue cheese (mmm brilliant idea, Anne), but I’d love to find a use that doesn’t completely negate the health benefits of the ingredient itself.

How do YOU celery-brate this unloved vegetable?

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5 Responses to Celery? More Like Hellery

  1. askagimp says:

    What is CSA? Also, does she really think that The Lion King has a gay agenda?

    • CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. It’s a big box of local, organic vegetables (or fruit, or some people do eggs, etc.) that you pick up on a schedule after having bought into the season. So your upfront payment helps keep the farm running, and then you take home a share of what the farm makes all summer long. It’s fun because you get things you might normally never buy (hello kohlrabi) but you also take some of the risk, since if it’s a bad rain year, for example, you’ll take home a lot less volume. My office offers a CSA subscription, and I love it.

  2. namgalleryguide says:

    Funny – I have a lot of celery in the fridge right now – reason being that one of my friends, on leaving their beach house at the end of the summer, gave me everything she hadn’t yet used. So I too was looking for celery recipes. I know I WON’T try the ones you raved about above! But I made a really good salad today that I found online. I’m sure you could find it if you look for it under “Thai Style Apple and Celery Salad”. The dressing was yummy and my lunch guests liked it enough that they took home the recipe.
    If you find any celery recipes that you DO like, let me know! I still have a lot left too. xxx

  3. I loathe celery. It stinks too. I would have given it or thrown it away. Good luck in using it!

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