Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom (And Whimsy)

Posted on November 15, 2023 under Wednesday’s Words of Wisdom with 4 comments

A celery stalker


“I like to eat, eat, eat,

Apples and bananas,

I like to eat, eat, eat,

Apples and bananas.”

Apples and Bananas – Traditional

And kale.

Many times, during my life, I have thought about becoming a vegetarian.

Luckiliy these flights of fancy pass quickly.

Like so many others who were brought up in my part of the world, and who came from large families (in numbers, not girth!), meat and potatoes were the staples of our diet. Mom would arrange for the purchase of a side of beef and my siblings, and I would form a production line around our lengthy kitchen table, weighing, wrapping, tying and labelling ground beef, roasts, stewing beef, and the occasional steak. In a family of 10, steak was as rare as an appearance of Halley’s Comet, once or twice in a lifetime. Tube steaks and brown beans appeared on a more regular and consistent basis.

Now, I certainly have nothing against those who eschew meat, fish and poultry. Vegetarians are lovely people as are vegans. “Judge not and thou shall not be judged.” So says the bible.

While I love a good steak, pan seared scallops or a turkey dinner, I am also quite fond of vegetables. As part of my (somewhat) healthy eating lifestyle, I try to have two or three vegetables on my plate every dinner. I have a two-tier steamer which cooks carrots, broccoli and cauliflower to perfection.

Unfortunately, sweets are also an essential part of my diet. My most recent addiction to sugar is in the form of mini pies, lovingly and expertly prepared by my daughter Ellie, proprietress of the wildly popular La Vie Sucree.

Now that the cold, wet weather has arrived, many of us are turning to comfort food. Recently, I made beef stew in my slow cooker. This might seem like an odd choice for someone who lives alone but I am a crafty, thrifty Scot (more Irish than Scottish, actually). When the stew has finished cooking and has cooled down, I put individual servings in containers and pop them in the freezer. Thaw and microwave at a later date when I’m feeling lazy and uninspired about what to have for supper.

We all have our favourite stew recipe, often handed down to us from previous generations or the latest version downloaded from Invariably, one of the key ingredients, a flavour enhancer to be sure, is celery. Celery is one of those vegetables that a single person should never purchase. It’s virtually impossible for one person to consume every stalk of celery in a bunch unless you happen to have a pet rabbit or chinchilla. After using a few stalks in the stew, the remainder go back into the crisper where they die a slow, miserable death. When you finally discover their remains months later during a cursory cleaning of the fridge, you are relieved that the Department of Health hasn’t come by for an inspection. Such is their pathetic state that you can actually pour them into your composter.

I decided to be smart for a change and share my celery with a friend. I was happy. My friend was happy. The celery was overjoyed.

“How does the rest of your family feel about celery?” to which she replied, “They think celery tastes like despair.”

Celery is a food enhancer, nor a standalone item, apparently. As a supporting cast member, celery shines. To wit, in a stir fry. As a solo act, not so much. You can dress up a stalk of celery with peanut butter and raisins and make ants on a log, but it still tastes like despair… with a hint of beurre d’arachide.

That got me to thinking about vegetables and how they can be described by taste and texture.

I am not a foodie or a food snob and will eat just about anything that’s put in front of me including every imaginable vegetable but really, why is kale allowed to exist? Some people say that cilantro tastes like soap, onions make people cry and the perfect human repellent is garlic. Turnips make you fart. I was going to use “flatulence”, but fart is much more descriptive. Parsnips are as dull as day old dish water and how about cabbage? Zucchini tastes like fog.

And then there’s rutabaga. In a previous life, I met someone that I quite liked until she made me rutabaga cookies. I think chewing on a frozen hockey puck holds more appeal than a rutabaga cookie.

I could go on, but I can already sense the wrath of the vegetarians who might show up at my doorstep and throw four month old celery at my windows.

Al Michaels, the venerable and much-admired sportscaster who turned 79 last week, says that he has never knowingly eaten a vegetable in his life with the exception of potato which he consumes with his steak.

A former neighbor and friend subscribes to the Al Michaels diet. He supplements his meat and potato diet with jellybeans, surely nature’s most perfect food. Milk is taboo in his diet as well.

“Food, glorious food,

We’re anxious to try it,

Three banquets a day,

Our favourite diet,

Just picture a great big steak,

Fried, roasted or stewed,

Oh, food! Wonderful food!

Marvellous food, glorious food.

Food, Glorious Food – Oliver

Kale, kale, the gang’s all here!

Have a great weekend.

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