Friday, March 26, 2010

I Really Hate Reading Recipes...

...because they are so boring. No sex. No intrigue. No human dynamic.
Maybe it could be done better.

And she said, “Oh no, dear Sir. What am I going to do? My new in-laws are having a party and I need to bring something to eat….and I don’t know what to bring. I don’t cook and I am worried and what will they think of me if I don’t bring anything and I don’t want my husband to get mad.”
I looked at her and replied, “Forsooth, young maiden. Fret not. For verily I say unto you – thoust anguish is but a tiny ripple in the tide of life.”
“What is a ‘thoust’? ” she replied.
Such things burden me. It is hard work saving damsels in distress. And it is even harder work talking weird. But, the problem this young lass is confronting is one that plagues myriads of new brides. And there is such a simple solution, and it doesn’t even require cooking.
 “Hark! I say unto you – payeth attention!”
What this young lady needs is a recipe that she cannot screw up. She needs to walk into her in-law’s house confident and proud handing her mother-in-law something simple, colorful and tasty. When her mother-in-law accepts the presentation and says, “Oh, thank you dear. You really didn’t have to.” She will know that she has arrived.
The key is always simplicity. There is never a need to imitate the great chefs by preparing something like Split Peas Soup from the can and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, like we had last night. Always stick to something that not only will feel good, but make your confidence soar.
What am I talking about? Stuffed celery! It is inexpensive, a delight to the palate, looks marvelous, and even fun to make. I am sure that there are a bunch of recipes for this – but throw all of ‘em out, and stick with this one. Here goes.
Step 1. Buy some celery. One bunch is plenty. Test the celery first by grabbing it. It should feel strong and firm, just like when you grab a…..well, you know – something firm! You do not want wimpy celery stalks.
Step 2. I know this is just the beginning and is already getting complicated, but stick with me. Buy a package of cream cheese. Just one. No – no, don’t get the strawberry or pineapple flavored stuff – just plain old white cream cheese.
Step 3 and 4. Buy a jar of cherries with all the cherry juice in it, and then buy some chopped pecans.
There. Now the job is half done. Celery, cream cheese, cherries and nuts.
The remainder of this process will take about fifteen minutes. Well, twenty if you are one of those slow and plodding and precise people.
Take half of the cream cheese and put it into a bowl – and stick the damn bowl in a microwave and nuke it for about fifteen seconds or so. All you want to do is soften the cream cheese a little bit. If you don’t have a microwave, go outside and start your car and let it run for fifteen minutes. Then raise the hood and put the bowl on top of the air filter, so the heat from the engine can do the deed. Aw hell, just let the stuff sit out for a while if you want to. The goal is to turn the cream cheese from a sturdy block into a wimpy block. So use your imagination.
You see, that is what fussing around with food in the kitchen is all about. Imagination. And talk. You have to talk to your food as you mess with it. When you do this, you will find that you begin to express emotion – and emotionally prepared food always tastes better.
Oh, I guess that was step 5.
Step 6. Take a cherry, and with a knife cut into pieces over the bowl. Just let the cherry pieces rain down onto the wimpy cream cheese. Then chop up some more cherries.
“How many cherries do I chop up?”
I don’t know. Maybe ten. Well, probably fifteen. Who knows? Just chop some cherries, and every now and then pour a dash of cherry juice into the bowl. When you get tired of cherry-chopping, take a fork and squish everything together. Just smush and mash. Pretty soon, with the cherry juice and all, everything will become real mushy and you can sort of whip it.
You will find the concoction to be a nice pink color and bits of cherry-red in it. Taste it. Want it to taste more cherry-like, throw some more cherry juice in it. Want more red bits, chop up some more cherries.
 This is your creation. You are the creator. You can do whatever you want. You are in control. You have power. You are the master. This is where emotional talking comes into play. I can imagine the young daughter-in-law squishing the hell out of the cream cheese with her fork, muttering to her mother-in-law: “Take this you old bitch! Mess with me, huh? How does this feel? And this? And this???” 

It is better that her husband is not in the kitchen when she makes stuffed celery.
Oh, where was I.
Step 7. When you have the cheese a pretty pink and you like how it tastes and you like how it looks – throw some chopped pecans in it. My daughter says I put too many nuts in, so I guess you should put less than me. The pecans add a little surprise to the texture of the whole thing. Stir it all together.
Step 8. Now too many pretend cooks taste what they have concocted in the bowl, and taste again, and taste again…..and eat it all up before they get to the celery. Don’t do this. Yes I know it tastes good…..but control yourself.
Wash the stupid celery. For some reason, it always seems to have bits of dirt in it.
Now cut it into pieces about three inches long. Cut and throw away the really white part of the celery, and do away with the real skinny sections down by the leaves.

Now that you have your pieces of celery, get a slab of the cream cheese mixture with your fork, and slop it onto the celery. I know – look – the celery isn’t really actually stuffed. You try to get as much into that big groove of the celery as you can, and just sort of pile the remainder on. Leave one end of the celery unstuffed. This is where you pick it up with your fingers.
This sounds so complicated. Here is the short version. Mix together some cream cheese, cherries and nuts and slap it onto some celery.

That is all there is to it.
Arrange you stuffed celery like spokes onto a plate. It looks cool. And tastes cool too.
See – no big deal. Problem solved. Hubby is happy and mother-in-law is happy and you are the creator of the world. Feels good, doesn’t it?


  1. I've never ever heard of putting cherries and nuts in the cream cheese. We just use plain old cream cheese or peanut butter. And yes, this, along with cubed cheese on a toothpick with an olive, actually passes for hors d'oeuvres at my in laws house. They don't like my fancy cooking. Ha! You had me giggling like mad with this one Jerry!


  2. Hm, I'm going to have to try this. I've never considered adding foods to the cream cheese before putting it on the celery. Then again, I usually am just eating it as a snack for myself, so I don't go to too much trouble.

  3. Thank you for solving the mystery that is cooking. I used to do it...a lot...but no more, so you have solved one of my Easter dinner dilemmas for me. Well done!

  4. Never heard of the cherry addition either, though we have added the finely chopped walnuts. Sounds delicious! And why bother with the block when you can get whipped cream cheese that's soft as a baby's butt! My grandsons like peanut stuffed celery dotted with raisins.

  5. Now I want celery with my wine.

  6. Yummy! And I mean the writing, too.

    I missed your blogs! Always a pleasure to peek in here. Now your blog has a great flavor as well!hehe

  7. I came by to thank you for stopping by my blog and writing such a thoughtful, lovely comment. I'm so glad I did! Turns out, your blog is equally as lovely and thoughtful! I'm your newest follower!

    Also, I'm SO trying this recipe!! Thanks!

  8. That has to be the best description of cream cheese celery, I have ever read!

    You crack me up! Something every young wife, needs to know! LOL!

  9. You are such a darling. Brilliant blog as always.
    With love Caroline x

  10. Okay. I have several questions:
    1) What size cream cheese is one purchasing? 'Cause it has to fit in the "damn bowl", you know.
    2) If my car is parked on the street and I'm using the "air filter/heat method" and alternate side of the street parking goes into effect, what do I do then? And can it all wait till, say, July 4th?
    I like the "smushing" part. I can DO smush!

  11. Sounds tasty and easy to make...thank you. Keep the recipes and stories coming...enjoy them!