This afternoon I read in a 1935 diet book that celery makes an excellent substitute for bread. It made me laugh. It also made me think about celery.
When Joe and I were first married we lived in a little apartment way up high in midtown Manhattan. After three years we bought a little weekend house in Pennsylvania. It was mostly his idea; I wasn't sure how often I wanted to come to the country (all those trees!). But it wasn't long before I became caught up in the spell of living close to nature, and I don't think we ever missed a weekend unless he was traveling in Europe.
We would leave after work on Friday. Joe would drive, and if it was still light outside I would read a cookbook, planning the weekend's meals. When we reached Sparta, NJ, we stopped to buy food. The supermarket looked so different from the little grocery stores in Manhattan. It smelled different, too. Today's supermarkets smell like baked goods. I don't know if it's because of their bakeries or because they spray "eau de cinnamon bun" into the vestibules. But all those years ago the Sparta supermarket smelled like celery. At least that's how it seemed to me.
I think of those days sometimes when I pause in the produce department, looking for the freshest, heaviest, cleanest head of celery. Or when I happen upon one of those cookbooks, long unused.