Friday, July 09, 2010

Celery Stalks at Midnight

It was a damp sort of midnight. One where you know the car is going to be dripping in the morning and the sidewalks will be wet. The dew was heavy enough to feel almost like rain. But it was spring and with the air so soft and balmy, we cranked the windows down.

A flood of aroma filled the car, so heady we almost swooned. Breathing deeply, he said, "It's garlic". As he slowed the car, I was leaning out the window trying to catch a glimpse of the plants in the fields, sniffing all the way. "No's dill or something, maybe basil?". "Wait a minute, he said, It's celery!"
We wanted to stop the car, get out and roll in it, wear it, eat it up.

A stalk at a time, it doesn't smell like much. We double checked ourselves in the supermarket the next day. Even the big bin displays only emit a minor aroma. You'd hardly feel like wearing it! In great field-size patches, with the temperature just right, it's stunning - like perfume and  food and wine all mixed together in one marvelous snootful.

It was a genuine nose thrill, that field - and the smell lingered on and on. Next morning, you could still catch a little trapped in the upholstery, the glove compartment, the drink holder. Every time we shifted positions in our seats a little puff would waft on by. Memories of celery-rich dishes were conjured up - turkey stuffing at Thanksgiving dinner, Waldorf salad, cream of celery soup, crudites, Blood Mary.

By day celery just sort of lies there but by God it's true. Celery does stalk at midnight. Here's a link to the jazzy tune and the lyrics are below if you want to sing. Celery Stalks tune

Celery stalks at midnight
Lurking in the moonlight
What's this funny nightmare
All about.

Celery stalks at midnight
Mounted on their broomsticks
Lighting through the tree tops
In and out.

It's like a bad dream
A crazy kind of nightmare
Must have been something that I ate
No doubt.

Celery stalks at midnight
Lurking in the moonlight
What's this very funny nightmare
All about!

If you have celery to use up here's one way.

Stuffed Celery

1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon lemon juice
8 oz.dried beef, chopped 
1 bunch celery

In a small mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, horseradish, black pepper and lemon juice. Mix until well blended. Stir in the chopped beef, cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Remove leaves and ends from celery and cut stalks in half. Spread the cream cheese filling in the stalks. Sing and dance. Serve at midnight. 


  1. I clicked on the celery tune and the ad running across the bottom was for IMP Great American Recipes. They seem to be really spending money on ads lately. I keep seeing them on our blogs, too. Maybe we'll hear from them again some day.
    I love your writing. That ode to celery was ( as the Brits say) brilliant!

  2. I hope the Great American Recipe people do call. I've been fooling around with songs about food lately just for fun. There are so many!!

  3. my mother in law used to say that it should be a federal law that all farms and fields along highways should post signs that say what's growing. It's a great idea. Should we start a petition?