When I was littler I had little time for celery. Except for its star bendy turn in a mid eighties Salad Cream advert, I could see no reason for its existence. A crunch swizzle stick of a vegetable it had a taste which slightly set my teeth on edge and was far too stringy and watery for real salad fun. Of course I was a British Salad rockist which meant that salads could only have lettuce, cucumber, beetroot and hardboiled egg in it – and tomatoes but I didn’t like tomatoes then. Anyway, no likee the celery was my position, which only shifted slightly when its use as a dipping crudite was displayed to me in so-called sophisticated drinks parties.

One day however I made myself some Jambalaya. Up until this point if a recipe has included celery I had tended to maybe up the onion a bit, or just leave it out. But there was some cheap celery, and hell it was nice for once to follow a recipe to the letter. Lots of celery went in and I slowly marveled at its cheapness to bulk ratio, and the way it sucked in the flavour. I garnished with the leaves and bunged what was left in the chicken stock I was making. I was sold on celery.

I can’t think of a soup I don’t put just a little bit of celery in these days, just for bulk and that slightly crisp yet subtle flavour it imparts. If you are used to onion as bulk, then celery gives you a whole new option (it is more attractive and easier to cut too). I still rarely have it in a salad, but it is a veg I always have in my kitchen now.