The Three Most Vicious Lies About Celery

Certain things cannot be borne. There are limits to what the people will put up with from its news outlets, and the Times' recent attempt to trick us all into eating celery goes beyond the confines of human decency.

Celery eater Martha Rose Shulman writes: "I'm a big fan of celery, both raw and cooked, as the main ingredient or as one of several featured ingredients in a dish," and then proceeds to instruct her readers on how to cook and eat the thing, as if celery were capable of being eaten and digested, when everyone knows it just rolls around in the mouth, becoming more and more fibrous, until one is obliged to spit it out in a napkin.

There are only so many vegetables to write about, and deadlines happen every week. We live in a world of limited edible plant matter and unlimited writing assignments. I understand. But there is no excuse for attempting to foist celery recipes upon an unsuspecting public. Telling your readers, "Oh, eat this...it's food. It's good. Put it in your mouth and chew it," is unacceptable. If you have been given celery recipes, keep them to yourself. Suffer in silence; we all have a cross to bear. Even a dog will not eat celery.

Celery Lie #1: "[Y]ou can make a celery salad, slicing the branches as thin as you can get them and tossing them with herbs, radishes, oil and vinegar, and blue cheese."

There is no limit to how thinly you can slice a celery branch; this is an impossible task. Every bitter shred will fray and split in half, like a warped and obscene mockery of mitosis. This is a salad that cannot be made. Your herbs will wilt, your blue cheese will ooze and mold into liquid oblivion, the people you love most will wither and die, and you will still be slicing away at your celery hairs. "They're almost thin enough, now. Almost there." The moon will crumble and disappear. The ages will howl by. Dust will envelop what were once cities, and you will stand in your kitchen alone, slicing eternally.

Celery Lie #2: "If you are cooking with celery, don't stop at one branch when you make soup. The celery contributes a wonderful herbal flavor dimension."

This is a disgusting and shameful falsehood. The celery contributes nothing. If you want an herbal dimension, add an herb. "Don't stop at one branch. Put another branch in. And another. Watch how their frilly, frondlike appendages sway back and forth in the pot. It's almost like you're building a tiny forest. Can you hear them? Can you hear the whispering of the celery? Add another branch. Do it. Just let your mind go blank. Relax. Don't stop now. Another branch."

Celery Lie #3: "It retains its texture for a long time when you cook it, so I used it as the main vegetable in a risotto and loved the way it stood up to the creamy rice."

Celery has two forms: a stiff and watery stalk that splinters into a thousand tangled splinters, or a brown and flaccid, steaming mush-corpse bristling with tender hairs. Creamy rice does not need to be "stood up to," creamy rice is pleasant and inoffensive. Celery tastes like bundles of floss that have achieved sentience through anger and banded together to jam themselves permanently into your teeth.

Celery is an insult to human dignity.

[Image from Devin Rochford]