Saturday, September 5, 2009
Putting the "mire" in "mirepoix"
Today we are going to touch on a sensitive and difficult topic. It's something that nobody talks about, because nobody dares admit it's a problem.
This is about leftover celery.
Elitegripes is here to let you know: leftover celery is a common problem. It affects MANY men and women of your age and social class. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
The following scenario probably sounds familiar. It's based on a story told to us by a young man we'll call "Joey."
It always starts with you making mirepoix which is that crucial ingredient in just about every French (or New-French, French-Cal, or French-anything) main course. You've faithfully chopped up vegetables in the correct 2:1:1 ratio of onions:carrots:celery. You've got just enough mirepoix for the dish you're making. The problem is that while you bought just enough onion and carrot, because you found them individually on your daily shopping trip to your local farmers market or organic highly-priced-produce supermarket (or somewhat reasonably-priced vegan grocery cooperative, though you don't go there so much any more because you feel ashamed that you go to the butcher afterwards for rabbit, which seems like the most innocent of meats because, well, BUNNIES), you have WAY too much celery, because that fucking vegetable only comes in bunches and never single ribs.
From experience, you know that 2:1:1 by volume usually translates into 1 large, 2 medium carrots, and 3 or 4 ribs of celery.
WHICH MEANS then you have about 2/3 of a bunch of celery left. You can't just put 2/3 of a huge bunch of celery in the compost (extravagantly wasteful, won't fit in the countertop compost bucket, neighbors may see you carrying it out to the green bin). You haven't quite gotten that backyard rabbit cage project off the ground yet, so there's no animal to feed it to (though you'll get to it some day, right?). So it sits in the vegetable drawer, wilting, turning yellow, and dehydrating until you give up and put it in the compost anyway (though at least in its wilted form you can sneak it out hidden in the compost bucket).
Every time this happens, your mind spins. You're full of self doubt. WHY can't you solve this problem? WHY does this happen every time? SHOULD you just swear off French food completely, since Spanish is the new French? BUT DOESN'T Spanish food actually have celery in it as part of that soffrito thing? HOW do you break the CYCLE OF CELERY ABUSE?
Here's the truth: YOU ARE NOT THE PROBLEM. THE SYSTEM IS THE PROBLEM.
For years now, farmers markets have sold celery in large bunches and carrots and onions singly. Actually, sometimes they sell carrots only in large bunches as well, but you can use carrots in other dishes. What else does one use celery in besides a mirepoix? YOU CAN ONLY CONVINCE YOUR GUESTS TO ACCEPT A CELERY-BASED "RUSTIC" CENTERPIECE ONCE BEFORE IT GETS REALLY REALLY OLD.
Sure, some places sell celery ribs singly, but those places are usually big chains that you'd never be caught dead shopping in (though if your friends did encounter you there and challenge your purchase of non-organic celery in that passive aggressive tone of "oh, I didn't know that you were still getting produce here, since the farmers market is so close to you" you could notice that they were probably there for some nefarious purchase of their own, and maybe they shouldn't be judging you because this is really society's problem, and they probably have this problem too, meaning they either waste food or shop at this chain store for non-organic celery, and is that Kraft mayonnaise and bleached flour in their basket?).
Please write your senators to alert them to this problem. Remember, you will be speaking for thousands more who dare not speak. We must first conquer our shame, then only can we conquer the produce aisle.
BONUS Related elite mini-gripe: My favorite upper middle class blog has had two posts in a row on food. Why can't they update more frequently and on a wider variety of topics.
picture credit: "11 celery" by apium.