Today’s prompt is celery and so my mind immediatley jumped to one of my favorite winter root vegetables. This odd little food has earned the nickname of “The Ugly One” because of its bizarre, almost alien look, but it’s proper name is celeric (also known as celery root, turnip-rooted celery or knob celery). It’s used quite often in Europe, and the first record of it being used as food was in France in 1623. Here in the States, it never quite gained the same popularity, so it can be hard to find and expensively priced once you do. But as with many things, looks can be deceiving, and this ugly root is delicious and packs quite a nutritional punch. A shame that it’s been judged unfairly on its looks and relegated to the shadows here. So, I decided to celebrate Celeriac Day today, and give this little underdog a chance to shine.
Last week I was having lunch at a delicious local vegan restaurant called FüD. What I love about this place is that they’ve reimagined comfort food in much healthier versions. I opted for the Mac N’ Trees on this visit, but was curious about their hot sandwich called a Jack Reuban. Rather than corned beef, it’s made from corned jackfruit. I had to google it to find out exactly what it was, and as it turns out, it’s gigantic and totally bizarre looking. On my next visit, I’m determined to try it. And what’s more, I’m curious now about all of the “ugly” fruits and vegetables that exist on the far corners of cuisine. In many cases, I’m sure they’re delicious and perfectly wonderful. It seems sad that they’ve all been judged so unfairly based on how they look.
When I was a kid in gradeschool, I was chubby and wore thick glasses. I wasn’t one of the cool kids and I was extra geeky so I didn’t fit in well with the popular kids. By the time I entered high school, I had dropped the weight and looked closer to what one might call handsome. Suddenly, people who never gave me the time of day were talking to me. I was, of course, absolutely thrilled at the time, but looking back it seems all wrong. My personality hadn’t really changed. Why hadn’t they noticed me before? That’s why I feel personally connected to this odd little root. I know what it’s like to be the ugly one. So for my totally made up holiday of Celeriac Day, it’s not simply about a root vegetable. It’s about looking past what you see and finding the wonderful new experiences you might have missed. But truly, there’s probably no harm in living like that each and every day.