Celeriac Was Celeri-Yuck

I know that’s a bold statement, but celeriac (or celery root) was just nasty. I’d been wanting to try it for months because I was weirdly thrilled to see it in my local grocery store. When I added it to The List, it had seemed so obscure that I’d expected to search high and low for it. Since it was so conveniently available, I put it on the docket for a night when Ladi was free to help cook.

The root itself looks like a hot mess, and I already knew I hated the flavor of raw celery. Still, I was enamored of the idea of loving it, as if sheer determination would transform that bulbous, gnarly beast into a prince among vegetables. Celery root is a different variety from regular celery, so falling in love with the bad-boy cousin seemed reasonable at the time. You’ve seen this story play out a gazillion times, but I will still tell you all about it because this is a blog.

First, it was the densest, dirtiest, most difficult thing to work with ever (just like your ex). It’s a root vegetable, so I naturally reached for a peeler. What a joke! The celeriac practically spat at my puny shavings and told me it “could go all day!” Obviously, I went back to my corner, grabbed the chef knife, and came out swinging. I will not be intimidated in my own kitchen! It was like peeling a petrified pineapple. As we all know, straight knives don’t handle curves well, and this thing was basically a ball. Cut it in half so it can rest flat, you say? Yeah, tried that. My knife got stuck in there so tight I almost needed King Arthur to extract it. I’d stupidly bought 2 for the mashed celeriac recipe I’d picked, so I made Ladi wrestle with the other one. It did tap out eventually, but not before drawing first blood. Don’t worry, we rinsed off that part.

Neither of us had worked with celeriac before, so we didn’t know that there is a thick woody layer that is nearly the same color as the pulp. One of the celery roots wasn’t peeled down far enough, so the mash was lumpy with bits of bark. We were spitting wood chips like watermelon seeds with every bite.

I finally gave up and scraped the rest of my serving into the garbage. If it had tasted remotely good, I might have muscled through, but I knew it was time to walk away. Ladi persevered and even volunteered to take the rest of it home. I debated internally thinking she’d get splinters in her stomach, but I did wind up foisting the leftovers off on her.

The bottom line is celery root turned out to be exactly that–the flavor of celery with the texture of a potato. Plus wood chips. Everyone has one bad experience with an alluring loser. I got burned, but it’s definitely over. Celeriac is not welcome in my life (or my mouth) again!

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