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Celery 2016.11.02

By COLLEEN LEDDY

It’s not that I love celery, but it’s one of those foods I like to have around. It adds flavor to soup, crunch to stir fry, brightness to salad and it’s the perfect carrier for peanut butter when you’re out of bread. Ants on a log used to be a staple at our house.

However, celery is also unremarkable and unmemorable. I forget that we already have a bunch hiding in the depths of the fridge so I buy another. Invariably, celery rots at my house. I just don’t cook often enough. Soup, stir fry, salad? I rarely make them anymore. 

“Why do you buy it?” David laments when he’s clearing out the fridge on a Thursday night in preparation for garbage day.

For the same reason I buy mushrooms and cilantro: When faced with those items at the store, I always have high hopes that I will spend time in the kitchen cooking up delectable dishes.

We were grocery shopping Saturday night after a delectable dinner out (restaurants are the only place “delectable” is happening in my culinary life) when David popped up behind me and asked, “Are we out of celery hearts?”

I burst out laughing. This is David Green humor at its finest. 

I was sure he didn’t know what celery hearts were, maybe was just encountering them for the first time, liked the unusual sound of “celery” combined with “hearts,” and was just throwing the term around as if he knew what he was talking about. Plus, he was also ribbing me (pun intended)—capitalizing on the opportunity to mention the word celery since it’s such a hot button at our house.

I texted Maddie, “Dad at Meijer: ‘Are we out of celery hearts?’”

“I don’t get it,” she replied. “Are they not hearts? Stalks?”

She was the last to leave home; I thought she’d be the likeliest of my children to remember the celery situation and see the humor in his comment. But, maybe celery rot is a relatively recent development in our marriage; Maddie’s been gone nine years if you count college. So, I had to explain:

“He always complains when I buy celery because he doesn’t eat it and I don’t eat it fast enough so it always rots. And I usually buy another one before I could possibly finish the first one so they both rot.”

“Ahhh,” she replied.” “Yeah, there’s no reason to buy it unless you have ants on a log every day.”

“Hey, whose side are you on?”

“I don’t think you need celery,” she concluded.

Of course I bought the celery…just regular celery, hearts and all.

Later I asked David why he asked me if we were out of celery hearts.

“Because I saw them and it seems like such an odd thing,” he said. “Why would somebody buy only a celery heart? What is a celery heart?”

Rather than run the risk of being inaccurate, I turned to Google for a more precise answer:

“Celery hearts are the lighter, inner ribs of a celery bunch. Their flavor is milder than the darker ribs, and they are also more tender. Celery hearts are often sold separately because of their mild flavor and texture.”

I was surprised to see that “celery hearts” is not an entry in Wikipedia. I bet David could write an interesting one.

I don’t spend all my spare time online looking up celery hearts.

On Sunday, I watched a Youtube video from an e-mail link that my daughter-in-law Sarah sent. It was of my 17-month-old grandson, Holden, riding his four-year-old brother Ryland’s scooter. It’s a pretty amazing video that shows both Holden’s exceptional ability and Ryland’s amazing patience in letting his brother use his scooter.

When it ended, a bunch of other videos popped up. I watched the first one that caught my eye, “How I Live in my Car.” In the 12 minutes the video blogger spoke, she never addressed all the how-to questions I had: dressing, bathroom, keeping warm, eating—really, how does she keep her celery hearts from rotting?