Submitted By Simon Hardy Butler, February 19, 2017

To paraphrase E.E. Cummings, there are some foods I will not eat.

Celery is one of those substances. It’s crisp. It’s crunchy. It’s stringy. It’s vegetal.

I hate it with a passion.

I know, I know … what has it done to deserve such disgust? It’s a popular munchie and an essential ingredient in soups, stews and other dishes. Yet the taste and texture have bothered me since my childhood. It is one of those foods I have trouble getting past my mouth.

Perhaps it’s the heady, grassy flavor. Or the watery quality of the stalks. Whatever it is, it’s not mitigated enough, in my opinion, by cooking, and I conscientiously avoid ordering dishes with this plant in them owing to the combination of fear and repulsion I have for it. Yes, I can smell it out of sauces, of savories. I can detect it in that chicken pot pie. I can identify it in that mirepoix.

True, I can’t deny that it’s crucial in such mixtures. Still, my aversion to this vegetable has heightened my awareness of it, and I’m afraid that this is one of my biggest culinary albatrosses. For being reluctant to eat a certain provision means one has to eschew an entire range of gastronomic creations available in the world … and that’s a darn shame. I must blame myself for this. Or at least my taste buds.

Bad taste buds. Say you’re sorry.

At any rate, there’s plenty of other stuff around the globe that I will consume, from the ordinary to the exotic. It’s definitely peculiar that the simple, mundane celery incites such loathing on my part. Maybe that will change in my old age; I hope so. For as E.E. Cummings noted: “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”

Hopefully, I still have a lot more growing up ahead of me.

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