a matter of time

celery root

You could say it began a few years ago, at the moment in Internet history when I first clicked on a food blog. That was what led me to celery root after all, or even to hearing about it. Before then, I must’ve walked by it in the produce section a hundred times, unknowing, overlooking its gnarly brown exterior and bulb-like shape for more familiar things like bright orange carrots or leafy green spinach or, really, anything but it.

Yet in another way, you could say it began much earlier, when I was young, the girl who wore thick pink glasses and sported puffy bangs that were regularly permed. I played no sports, belonged to no clubs, had no real accomplishments. Looking back, truly, it seems all the signs were in place from the beginning: this girl was meant to like celery root. It was only a matter of time.

Celery root, also called celeriac or knob celery, is many things, but looking at it for the first time, only one stands out: this winter vegetable isn’t pretty to look at. In fact, if you were a little like the mean kids I grew up with, you might say something like celery root is the ugliest vegetable there ever was and, you know, nobody wants to play with it.

With all that in mind, or maybe because of all that in mind, I walked towards, not away from, the celery root at my grocery store a few weeks ago, taking two globes in my hands, holding them like brains in one of those scary movies I’d never watch. I didn’t know what made one good or bad, and I didn’t know what I was going to do with the two I tucked into a plastic bag, but when I walked outside, inhaling the cold, crisp air, it was with a spring in my step.

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