II: Celery

Celery was once an exclusive (and expensive) food.

A celery stalk. Photo by TheDeliciousLife.
A celery stalk. Photo by TheDeliciousLife.

Good morning. Today is dudoi, the 2nd of Brumaire, Year CCXXXI. We celebrate le céleri, a vegetable that burns more calories being chewed than it contains.

Celery seeds are actually tiny fruits, and their pulp is a rich source of oil that's frequently used in perfumes. Celery salt is made when dry celery seeds are mixed with (checks notes) salt, and is claimed to add a brightness to dishes that regular salt cannot. It's a notable part of the traditional Chicago dog topping menagerie because Chicago turned out to be a great place to grow celery, so everyone had a plant or two working in their yards. This was grown to sell, not to eat, once the seeds were removed, because the world had gone... well, let's get into the main story...

It's two hundred years ago, and the world has just gone celery crazy. Celery's fad – as bright and intense and the more recent fads for avocado and kale – started for the reason most foods become unaccountably popular: the plant was hard to farm, and supposedly healthy beyond words, and also rare, and therefore only affordable to the wealthy and well-connected.

Yes, I'm really talking about celery. The same stuff you buy now. It didn't taste different. It didn't look different. And it was a luxury.