Celery. You can definitely have too much celery.

It was Thanksgiving a couple weeks ago, you may recall, and that means it was one of those rare moments in my domestic calendar when celery is on the shopping list. You have to have celery in the turkey stuffing. So I bought two packages of celery and used one but had the second one leftover. “It’s okay,” I told myself. “We’ll use it up in the inevitable turkey soup or something like that.”

Except that while I made turkey stock, I never did make turkey soup. And now it’s December. And I’ve still got this package of celery in the fridge.

The other day my husband sent me a text message saying, “I’m going to the store to buy things to make beef stew.” I wrote back and said, “Sounds good. We have turkey stock in the fridge you can use, and also celery.” I came home. We had beef stew for dinner. It was good. But a day later I opened the vegetable drawers in the fridge and realized that we still had an abundance of celery. In fact, there was a significant net gain in our celery stock. It was immediately clear to me that my husband had ignored my text regarding celery and had purchased another very large head of celery. A superfluous head of celery. I discovered this while our daughter was seated at the dining table having her afternoon snack. I uttered a few choice words and spent the rest of the afternoon muttering about how the hell was I supposed to use up all this damned celery. We don’t even really like celery. We’re not people who wander around eating celery as a healthful snack. We are not rabbits or cows. The celery is a problem.

I didn’t say anything about it to my husband until dinner last night, when I remarked casually, “So we’ve got kind of a lot of celery in the house right now,” and he laughed and admitted, “I didn’t see your text until after I’d gone shopping.” “Ah,” I said. Our daughter piped up, “Mama found the celery in the fridge and SHE used BAD WORDS.” I slitted my eyes at my daughter. “I did,” I admitted to my husband.

“Oh, really?” he said. “What did Mama say?”
“She said the J word and the H word and the C word,” my daughter said, clearly enchanted by the act of reporting on my poor behavior.

“I’m sure she did,” my husband said. “Well, it’s understandable.” I was relieved that I hadn’t used worse language at the time. I think I did, in fact, cast aspersions on my husband’s character at the time, but I guess the language I used wasn’t incendiary enough to catch my daughter’s attention.

Anyhow, we have a whole lot of celery to use up. I am seriously considering making braised celery for dinner tonight, praying that we find it edible. Because it’s that or the stock pot, and we have quite enough stock in the house right now. I’ve got enough stock for seventy pots of risotto. I’ve got to draw the line somewhere. In the meantime, I’ve instituted a ban on celery acquisition. The entree tonight will be pasta with anchovies, garlic, and parsley, which everyone loves. So even if the celery is a failure, no one will go hungry.


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