Celery Like it Used to Taste…

Another ‘ported’ blog from my old site. I like to keep my filing up to date. This one is from October 2011. I haven’t seen the product mentioned in Waitrose lately, so perhaps the sales campaign floundered. That said, I haven’t been in Waitrose for ages, and when I last did I didn’t go anywhere near the celery section, so who knows?

Yesterday Ben and I went for a nice walk in the woods. ‘Come on, Ben,’ I said, dragging him kicking and screaming away from the X-box and a horde of marauding Nazi zombies, ben bike‘you’ll enjoy it when we get there.’ And he did…

We parked at a local country park and hiked all around the reservoir, reminiscing about him learning to ride his bike there (on the path around the reservoir, obviously, not in the reservoir, you pedantic bugger) and the chipped tooth he got when he came off that died and went black, and we even did a bit of ‘shrooming’ in the woods (not a sossidge – they must have heard us coming). It was lovely. Of course he slipped and went over in the mud, and got a booty trying to jump a stream that he could have easily stepped over, and got prickled by prickles he could have easily avoided, but then that’s half the fun of a walk in the woods with your kids, isn’t it?

We tried climbing some of the trees he liked falling out of as a five-year old and discovered I can still climb them but it takes me longer and that he can still fall out of them but the drop seems shorter and the ground harder. The nettles, he concluded, are pretty much as stingy as ever and there’s never a dock leaf around when you want one. Oh, with nettles, by the way: if you look for ones that are in flower you can pick them without getting stung ‘cos they have no stingy hairs when flowering. They can tell you a lot about your parenting style too; if you are a good dad you share that fact with your kids so they can impress their friends, but if you are a horrid dad you talk them into a ‘stinging nettle challenge’ without explaining the significance of the white flowers. I, of course, am a good dad *whistle*.

Being careful to avoid any tramp poo we went inside one of the concrete pillboxes that crop up along that particular stretch of the river Medway and looked out through the gun slits, and I gave Ben a brief history lesson, courtesy of Julia Bradbury’s ‘Canal Walks’, about the ‘Ironside Line’. Unfortunately, the Germans being defended against weren’t of the reanimated dead variety so his interest waned after approx 4.5 seconds, but at least we got out of the shelter sans tramp poo.

Sorry, I seem to have wandered a bit. What’s any of this got to do with celery, you are probably asking, assuming a) that you’ve read this far and b) that you bothered reading the title of today’s blog. If you haven’t bothered reading this far then I am, of course, talking to myself (which is nothing new) and if you have read this far but didn’t read the title then you undoubtedly won’t be asking any questions about celery – or at least, weren’t, or if you were, were purely by massive coincidence, but as that brings me back into the territory of wandering from the point again, let’s just assume that, for the sake of argument, you have read this far and have read the blog title and are therefore wondering when we might address the celery topic implied by that title. So.


Halfway point on our walkabout is but a stone’s throw from the town centre, where we were also heading in the vague hope of finding a new pair of skool shoes that don’t pinch, don’t slop about, don’t look ‘cheap’ or ‘skanky’ or ‘chavvy’ or ‘bloody horrible’ that have laces as opposed to ‘poxy Velcro for idiots who can’t tie laces’ and aren’t slip-ons for people who are ‘even bigger idiots than the idiots who can’t tie laces’. Did I mention Ben’s fourteen?

We didn’t find any (now rescheduled shoe shopping for Friday or Sunday if I can get rid of his Saturday night sleepover-for-Halloween-horror-movie-fest friends early enough) but as old shoesthis was the fifth or sixth attempt I wasn’t particularly surprised. His old skool shoes look like they’ve been dynamited and will fall apart any day now, but as we’ve been unable to find any new ones that look exactly the same (only pre-dynamiting) he’s determined that falling apart is the lesser of two evils if the other evil is looking like a ‘right prat’ by wearing shoes that don’t look exactly the same as his old-ones (pre dynamiting). Did I mention he’s fourteen?

Blimey. I’m doing it again.


After the shoe shop we went into Waitrose to see if they had any sell-by-date-bargains up for grabs (I love Waitrose for sell-by-date bargains as they really do slash the price rather than just trimming it. Only trouble is (gee whizz) lots of other people have twigged it now so people who wouldn’t have a clue what to do with a Red Kuri and half a kilo of samphire even if Jamie Oliver provided them with a diagram are getting in on the act – the bastards). They didn’t have (chiz chiz), but I remembered I needed to buy some celery anyway, so made my way to the relevant section. And there I found a new line – on an introductory offer with 25% off – of pre-packed luxury celery bearing the legend “Traditional White celery AS IT USED TO TASTE! Deliciously nutty and mellow!”

Well who could resist? Nutty and Mellow. Like IT USED TO TASTE! You’d be daft not to, wouldn’t you? So I did! And it tasted… well, erm… like celery, really. You know, that stuff that looks like ridged rhubarb before the sun’s got at it… the ‘negative calorie’ crudités that you smother with blue cheese dip when they’ve run out of vol-au-vents at a wedding buffet… the green stringy stuff that tastes like, erm, celery. Well it tasted exactly like that.

And then I thought about it, and do you know what? Even as a kid, when celery wasn’t the ‘new fangled’ stuff it is they sell in lesser supermarkets today, even when it was the stuff I’d nicked from my next door neighbour’s allotment, newly snapped and fresh as a daisy, it still tasted like, erm, celery. It wasn’t delicious or nutty or mellow – It was, erm, celery. Nowt wrong with it, but it is, at the end of the day when all is said and done and the chickens have come home to roost and all of that old malarkey, just celery.

And if the world we live in today is so dull and sad and empty and tasteless that we find ourselves getting nostalgic for something as, let’s face it, boring as celery – to the point that we’ll pay twice as much per head for it (even with 25% off) if it’s branded ‘traditional’ – doesn’t that say more about us than it does about celery (or any other vegetable, come to that)?

dad fixing guttersOh bugger. I’ve gone and depressed myself now. Think I’ll go and indulge in some good old ‘comfort eating’. Probably chocolate rather than celery based, though, even though that’s a definite vicious circle in the making… I mean, wagon wheels used to be the size of a dustbin lid, didn’t they? And what ever happened to Aztec bars? It used to take two of you to carry a curly wurly – one at each end like window cleaners with a ladder… Does anyone remember ‘Nutty’ bars?



10 thoughts on “Celery Like it Used to Taste…”

  1. Ha ha – I am not that nostalgic about sweets as where I grew up we had ‘chocolate like’ products imitating chocolate – would rather munch on celery 😉 I was introduced to the world of real chocolate after 1989… and haven’t looked back since!

    1. Ah. Was that ‘carob’ chocolate? Close but no cigar! To be honest my favourite childhood treat wasn’t chocolate at all, it was a ‘Lord Toffingham’ iced-lolly, which was soft milky ice-cream wrapped around a soft fudgy/toffee-ey centre. Ahhh… those were the days *sigh* Thanks for comment 🙂

      1. i am with you on this too!! the smell of my mum boiling fresh beetroot as a child put me off so now it will only ever be eaten if its out a jar … i think you are now my partner in salad crimes) .. (meaning we have the same salad tastes!)

      2. You may be right! How tricky did you find the transition from childhood ‘salad cream’ to grown up mayonnaise? I’m either / or these days, but as a tiddler it was always the yellow stuff from the tall bottle. 🙂

      3. the transition has not gone well, in front of the children i of course go for the mayonnaise … under the cover of darkness I have been known to sneak in the kitchen for a cheese and salad cream sandwich … ssshhh

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