Simply Awful Celery!

I love celery.

  1. Plain, with salt, as a snack.
  2. With peanut butter
  3. Diced, In my tuna fish
  4. In my Bloody Mary
  5. Diced in egg salad

But I can’t think of the last time I bought a bag of celery that something wasn’t rotten with it. I look pretty carefully at the stalks when at the supermarket, I look at the bottom and at the top – I look at the leaves.

Believe it or not, the bag I brought home was the best of the lot. I don’t remember if this was from Shoprite or Wegman’s, but it seems not to matter where it’s purchased, there’s something in the harvesting or growing that’s going wrong.

This celery is from Salinas, California, known as The Salad Bowl of the World, and in googling bad celery harvest or problems with celery this year, I got nothing.

I’ve deadheaded the stalk, thrown away more than 50% of it, and what’s left I’ve put back in the fridge.

I know lots of people who only buy celery already looped off at the top, but in a good scenario, with excellent celery, the celery leaves are my favorite. I look for the whole magilla.

I grew up with celery. It was often served in the 1950s segmented glass dish my mom had, with big pimento stuffed green olives in another section of the dish. We had a salad every night of the week with dinner, iceberg lettuce, celery, and tomatoes. Nothing fancy. No croutons. A simple olive oil and vinegar dressing. It’s what we did and I’m sure as a boomer I’m not alone in telling that story.

Today I’m putting the chopped celery into tuna fish, for a sammy later, but that later may come sooner because I was up and out of bed at 3:15 this morning, wide awake. Grrr. I watched last night’s recorded Gutfeld! Show. Excellent. And I started to watch last night’s Dateline I recorded but it was hosted by Lester Holt and it was an agenda driven episode about Justice in America. Nope. Hard pass. Bummer because I love actual crime stories Dateline does so well.

Another horribly hot day. Phone calls daily from ConEdison reminding me to stay cool and that my power may go off.

Otherwise, I hope to finish The Splendid and the Vile this weekend. I read a lot yesterday, decided to renew the book just to give myself a little breathing room to finish it. It’s interesting how so many people disliked Joseph Kennedy. No surprise to me.


18 thoughts on “Simply Awful Celery!

  1. My dad was an excellent cook and I can’t remember him starting any recipe without starting with sautéed celery! My mother, on the other hand, was a big fan of the microwave. And let me say that microwaved chicken isn’t the preferable method of cooking poultry. Every night, the iceberg, tomato and French dressing, which I’m pretty sure didn’t come from France.

    1. I start my homemade spaghetti sauce with sautéed celery, carrots, and shallots. Celery gives a recipe a hidden depth. It’s like anchovy paste. I use that a lot too, without others in the house who might hold their nose at anchovy, from knowing any is in it. Another depth background flavor.

      Nuked chicken is certainly an interesting cooking method! 🙃

      1. My mother had a lot of endearing qualities, but patience wasn’t one of them. If she could cook a chicken in ten minutes rather than an hour, she was sold. Rubber is a good description of the consistency.

  2. Before the woke crowd cancelled the excellent show, Live PD, we got a glimpse into the everyday life of cops dealing in some pretty crappy spots with some real degenerates.
    One show had Salinas so I looked it up on the map to see that it was in what appeared to be a beautiful spot but still suffering from scumbag-itis.
    Now, with all the legal people leaving CA, being replaced with “irregular migrants,” combined with others just sitting at home collecting Biden Bucks, I wouldn’t be surprised if the farmers are having trouble with their harvests while the surrounding communities turn into 3rd world shitholes.
    On top of that, I hate veggies in a bag.

    1. All good points.

      One of the last times we vacationed in Palm Springs we drove around the Coachella Valley with an abundance of farms. It was also date and fig season. Lots of farmers stands. Great produce. No bags.

      1. Oh, I forgot, cream cheese on celery.
        And, I didn’t know him personally, but I’m going to bet Joe Kennedy was an enormous POS.

        1. Cream cheese!! Good one. Yes.

          The book has nothing nice to say about Joe. Nothing.

          PS: Last night I caught a bit of a reenactment of JFKjr plane crash. One of the show narrators, a woman I never heard of, went on at great length about all the tragedy that befell the family. In outlining them, she neglected to mention the Lion of the Senate’s murder of a young woman. I’d say that was tragedy, for the young woman and her family. The Kennedy’s have some serious gene defects. Bad seeds all.

        2. That was a staple for appetizer plates.

          Anyone remember cream cheese and green olive sandwiches? That was a Friday staple in school, brown bagging it; either that or tuna salad or egg sald sandwiches on Friday’s in the paper sack. Sandwiches in wax paper inside the brown sack.

        3. I make cream cheese and olive mix myself, all the time. Fortunately for me I’m the only one in the house who eats it. It’s a fabulous sandwich!!!

  3. And don’t forget the Bessette girls who died because of John Jr’s stunning arrogance in taking a plane out in conditions he was not ready to navigate.

    1. Exactly. JFKjr had never flown with instruments only. His wife was two hours late to the airfield in NJ they flew from. 8:30 not 6:30. So by the time they neared MVY, it was dark and there was mist and fog. He didn’t file a flight plan either. Arrogance is the understatement. The reenactment show said JFKjr was often late to his flying lessons and didn’t choose to stick to one instructor. His primary instructor offered to fly with/for him that night but John refused. It took forever to find the wreckage because there was no flight plan. I mean it doesn’t get any more arrogant than that.
      I’m guessing Caroline Kennedy quietly gave the Bessette family oodles and oodles of “keep quiet kash”, something she learned from Uncle Ted.

  4. Your photos of the celery sparked a childhood memory: my family often visited some friends at their summertime cottage on Lake Ontario. To get to it we had to drive on a dirt road that ran through a farmer’s field planted with cauliflower. One season the price of cauliflower was so low that the farmer never harvested that year’s crop. On a hot, dusty summer day you could not even imagine….

  5. Thanks for the trip down memory lane, green salad every night with dinner – oil & vinegar pre mixed in a little pitcher with some dried herbs & definitely yes to the divided glass dish with celery, olives and maybe carrot sticks. I shop often at Trader Joe’s and the celery has been fine, though bagged and rather severely pruned – some leafy tops but not many. My last bag has been astoundingly long lived for celery, I think I bought it two weeks ago & it is still good. It is from an organic farm in the Salinas Valley Tanimura & Antle. They boast on the bag of being employee owned – so maybe the dreadful conditions in California haven’t bothered them much yet.

    1. I inherited most of my mothers 1950s/60s classic serving pieces. From the divided glass one for celery and olives to vintage wooden salad bowls and mid century modern enameled nut dishes. I truly treasure these more than all the formal crystal and china she passed down to me.

      I seem to be the only person on the planet who doesn’t “get” Trader Joe’s. I went a few times to the one on High Ridge Road in Stamford. I was like a lost sheep. I couldn’t even figure out how the store was laid out. It made no sense to me. But so many of you love TJ, maybe I’ll give it another whirl. Especially if I find good celery.

      1. If you’re going to Versailles, then I’d look for celery there. If you do try TJ’s again, there is the one on the Post Road, it is Larchmont which I think might be closest to you. But I haven’t been there in ages. I wonder if I could film a walk through of the High Ridge Road TJ’s the next time I am there for you. With of course pointed commentary like: there is the celery. 🙂 Basically with High Ridge, you walk in past a tiny floral area into the produce section, pass through that picking out what you want and then pass a refrigerated case containing juices and dairy – but not specialty cheeses, cottage cheese yes, cream cheese yes but no more. Pass the now defunct (thanks Covid) tasting station and meat is on the left. On the right is a dry goods aisle I only visit if I need something there – usually not. Pass through meat and voila the cheese. Slightly to the right is a refrigerated case with surprise premade salads that didn’t get into the produce section. You are right this is confusing. Turning further right is a frozen foods aisle (there will be another quarter one on the other side). Hang on we are almost done. Come back up frozen food and there will be snacks against the wall on the left, the remainder of the freezer cases with breakfast cereals and juices making up the rest. Come back up and the next aisle is personal goods, toilet paper, paper towels, soap etc. with coffee, tea & supplements on the other side. Come back up and at last the end. The bakery aisle (beer to your right). As you noticed it is designed to go down one side of an aisle & return on the other side. If you went during the Covid mania, they hoped to direct every one in one direction – precisely contrary to the design, so of course it was confused chaos.

  6. Remember learning that potato and egg /tuna salads should not sit out in the heat at picnics and summer buffets. It wasn’t the mayonnaise that caused the food poisoning. It was dirt/bacteria hiding in the celery ridges! I always use my potato peeler to skim down the ridges when I use celery in salads. And diced celery,carrots and onions make the classic mire poix that is the basis of many a French and Italian dish. Bibi

    1. I’ve never heard that about celery ridges holding bacteria but like you and my mom, I always trim down the ridges. I use a paring knife though not a peeler.

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