The 5 food products that you most often hear people don’t like, in my experience, are cheese, raisins, olives, creepy sea creatures and fizzy drinks. Go through your mental list of friends and family and I’m pretty sure you will find at least one person for each product. And I sort of understand people’s dislike for these products, even though I love all of them.
Olives have quite a strong flavour that I understand you might never get used to. Sea creatures really have their looks against them, with their beady eyes and thin little legs. Raisins, when they’re nice and juicy, have a texture that I guess could get on your nerves. Similarly, I suppose it’s mostly the feeling of the gas in fizzy juice that bothers people, because I don’t think it actually changes the flavour of the drink (but do leave a comment if you can shed more light on this subject).
Cheese, of course, is a classic disliked product. Usually, those who like it, which seems to be the majority of people, love it. Those who don’t, absolutely hate it and never learn to appreciate it. Which I totally understand, because thinking about how cheese came to be cheese can be a bit off-putting to some, and it has an after-taste that, if you pay close attention to it, really is quite disturbing. I love cheese, and I eat ridiculous amounts of it, but I must admit that after an intoxicated cheese sandwich with a bad ending, I came to understand precisely what people find so revolting about it.
So far the disliked products that I understand. There’s something about each of them that understandably puts people off them. Texture, after-taste, creepy appearance. Fine.
But then there’s celery.
I hear about people who don’t like celery more and more often and this one I really don’t get. I cannot even begin to imagine what you could possibly dislike about celery. Its crunchy crispyness? Its fresh but mild flavour? Its wonderful bright green colour? Honestly, what is there to dislike? It’s like actively disliking cucumber, or sparrows, or trousers. Even if you’re not mad about them, surely these things are in no way offensive to the senses?
Here’s for the real palatal die-hards out there: celery with blue cheese.
For two, you will need
- 6 stalks of celery
- a shallot
- a leek
- about 100 ml of double cream
- some blue cheese, I used Blacksticks Blue, quantity to your own liking
- some stock
- breadcrumbs (make these out of old bread or multiple times toasted fresh bread)
- little bit of parmesan
‘Peel’ the celery by cutting halfway through the ends with the round side down, then tearing the rest of it off: long strips will come off. Repeat by breaking the stalks in two or three pieces, each time breaking the stalk and tearing off the long celery threads. It’s OK if not all of it comes off, just take off as much as is easily peeled away by breaking the stalks.
Cut up the shallot and stick it in a pan with a knob of butter and the celery sticks. Fry gently for a few minutes, then add stock (or, as I do, a bit of stock cube and hot water from the kettle, it’ll mix in the pan). Put the lid on the pan and leave to simmer for a while.
Cut the end and the green off the leek. Cut the white part in half and then cut thin strips out of those two halves. Take the lid off the celery, add the leek and leave until the stock evaporates. Add some black pepper and stir every now and then.
When almost all of the stock has evaporated, turn the heat down low, add the cream and the cheese and stir until it has all mixed well. Then put all of it in a little oven safe dish, top with breadcrumbs and parmesan and stick it in the oven for 10 minutes.
Serve with home made, oven baked potato chips, or with mash if you’re after comfort food.