Old-fashioned Fried Celery

Fried Celery

It was more popular to serve celery as a stand-alone vegetable a hundred years ago than it is now. One way of serving it back then was to bread the celery, and then fry it.

When I made this recipe, I struggled to get the bread crumbs to stay on the celery – and the breading was very uneven – though it tasted fine.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Fried Celery
Source: General Welfare Guild Cook Book(Beaver Valley General Hospital, New Brighton, Pennsylvania, 1923)

I used paper towels instead of cheese cloth to dry the celery.

Fried Celery

  • Servings: 3 - 5
  • Difficulty: moderate
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1 bunch celery


1 egg, beaten

3/4 cup fine bread crumbs

shortening, lard, or other fat

Wash celery and cut into 4-pieces; dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the celery pieces with salt, then dip in beaten eff, and then roll in the bread crumbs.

Heat 1-inch of fat in large skillet. Put the breaded celery in the heated fat, and fry until the breading is brown and the celery tender; remove from skillet and drain on paper towels.


Escalloped Celery with Chicken

Escalloped Celery with Chicken

I don’t see many recipes for casseroles when browsing through hundred-year-old cookbooks. There are a few casserole recipes in 1922 cookbooks, but they didn’t become really popular until the mid-20th century. In any case, I was intrigued by a casserole recipe that I found in a hundred-year-old cookbook for Escalloped Celery with Chicken, and decided to give it a try.

Though I made this recipe from scratch, the Escalloped Celery with Chicken brought back vague memories of creamed chicken and celery dishes I ate as a child that were made using cream of celery soup. In any case, I enjoyed this dish. It was tasty and made a  nice casserole.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Escalloped Celery with Chicken
Source: Good Housekeeping’s Book of Recipes and Household Discoveries (1922)

I used a little less salt than was called for in the original recipe. It called for boiling the celery in water with 1 teaspoon salt, plus an additional 3/4 teaspoon salt in the sauce. I decided that an additional 1/2 teaspoon would be plenty – and the recipe tasted fine. I also thought that 500° F. seemed very high – so I baked at 425° F. until the bread crumbs were lightly browned and it was hot and bubbly (about 15 minutes). The recipe says it serves four. In my opinion, if this is served as the main dish, that it is a little skimpy for four, so I listed it as 3-4.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Escalloped Celery with Chicken

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: moderate
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2 cups celery, diced into 1 inch pieces


1 teaspoon salt + 1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup diced cooked chicken

3 tablespoons pimento, diced

2 tablespoons butter + 1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons flour

1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup celery water (reserved when celery is drained after cooking)

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup fine dry plain bread crumbs

Put diced celery in a saucepan. cover with water and add 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil using high heat, then reduce heat and simmer until the celery is tender (about 10-15 minutes). Drain and reserve 1/2 cup of the celery water.

In the meantime, preheat oven to 425° F. In a skillet, using medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter; then stir in the flour. Gradually, add the milk, cream, and celery water while stirring constantly. Continue stirring until the white sauce thickens. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Add the cooked celery and diced chicken. and stir to combine.  Put in a 1-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with the bread crumbs and using 1 tablespoon of butter, dot with small pieces of butter. Put in oven and bake until hot and bubbly, and the bread crumbs are lightly browned.



Celery au Gratin

Celery au Gratin

A hundred years ago celery was often served as a cooked vegetable, so I decided to make a recipe  for Celery au Gratin that I found in a 1922 cookbook.

The Celery au Gratin was tasty with pieces of celery embedded in a delightful cheese sauce.

Here is the original recipe:

recipe for Celery au Gratin
Mrs. DeGraf’s Cook Book (1922)

I used butter instead of shortening when making the sauce for this recipe.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Celery as Gratin

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: moderate
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2 cups celery, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 cups water

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk

2 tablespoons butter + 1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons flour

dash salt and pepper

3/4 cup grated cheese (I used cheddar.)

1/2 cup fine soft bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 375° F. Put celery pieces, water and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil using high heat, then reduce heat and simmer until the celery is tender (about 10 minutes). Then remove from heat, and drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the liquid to use in the sauce. Set aside.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in another saucepan, then stir in flour and dashes of salt and pepper. Gradually, add the milk and reserved celery liquid while stirring constantly; Continue heating and stirring using medium heat until the sauce thickens.

Put half the cooked celery in a 3-cup casserole dish; add 1/2 of the sauce, then top with  1/2 of the grated cheese. Repeat in same order. Set aside.

Melt 1 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan.  Add the breadcrumbs and stir. Continue stirring until the breadcrumbs are crispy and light brown.

Sprinkle the buttered breadcrumbs on top of the layered celery. Put in oven and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly.


Old-fashioned Apple and Celery Salad

Celery and Apple Salad in dish

I always enjoy Waldorf Salad, so was intrigued by recipe for Apple and Celery Salad in a hundred-year-old cookbook. It seemed very similar to Waldorf Salad – but with fewer ingredients (just apples and celery). I wondered, would I miss the nuts and raisins in the typical Waldorf Salad?

The verdict- Apple and Celery Salad was nice, but I prefer Waldorf Salad with the added crunchiness and sweetness of the nuts and raisins.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Celery and Apple Salad
Source: The New Cookery (1921) by Lenna Frances Cooper

I went with the mayonnaise option when I made this recipe, and I did not garnish with lettuce. (Exactly how do you garnish with lettuce?) I also did not peel the apples. To be totally honest, I somehow failed to notice that the apples weren’t supposed to be peeled until I started writing this post. When I made this recipe, I was in a hurry and just glanced at the recipe, and thought that this would be an easy recipe because it was Waldorf Salad minus half the ingredients. I should have read it more carefully. The salad would be different (and less colorful) if the apples had been peeled.

And I also failed to notice that I was supposed to marinate the apple pieces in lemon juice – but we ate the salad soon after I made it, so the apples didn’t discolor. (I think that coating them with mayonnaise also slows discoloration).

I used just enough mayonnaise to coat the celery and apple pieces (about 1/2 – 2/3 cup).  I previously made the Golden Salad Dressing recipe that is listed in this recipe when I made another recipe from this cookbook: Pineapple and Strawberry Salad with Golden Dressing. Golden Salad Dressing recipe can be found in that post.

I’m now realizing that I barely made the original recipe for Apple and Celery Salad – and am fascinated that I somehow failed to do so many things quite right with such a simple recipe. I guess it’s a lesson learned about carefully reading directions even for the easiest recipes. That said, the recipe turned out well, so the updated recipe for modern cooks is based on how I made it..

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Apple and Celery Salad

  • Servings: 5 - 7
  • Difficulty: easy
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2 cups chopped apples (about 1/2 inch pieces) –The apples can be either peeled or not peeled.

2 cups chopped celery (about 1/2 inch pieces)

1/2 – 2/3 cup mayonnaise

Combine apple and celery pieces; stir in enough mayonnaise to lightly coat the pieces.


Dressed Celery Recipe

Dressed Celery in DishSome vegetables are often featured in salads and side dishes – others, such as celery, not so much. A hundred years ago celery was more popular than it is today, and I see old recipes for celery dishes from time to time.

I recently came across a 1921 recipe for an easy-to-make salad called Dressed Celery, and decided to give it a try. Thinly sliced celery is served with a lovely egg-based cream dressing. The Dressed Celery made a nice side salad.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Dressed Celery
Source: The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book, Revised Edition (1921)

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Dressed Celery

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
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2 cups thinly sliced celery

Cream Dressing (see below)

Mix celery with desired amount of Cream Dressing. (Any extra dressing can be reserved and used with another salad.)

Cream Dressing

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard

3/4 tablespoon sugar

1 egg, beaten

2 1/2 tablespoons butter

3/4 cup cream

1/4 cup vinegar

Mix the ingredients in the order given. Slowly stir in the cream and vinegar while stirring to make a smooth liquid. Put in a sauce pan, and heat using medium heat while stirring constantly. Cook until the mixture thickens, then strain, and cool before using.


Old-Fashioned Creamed Celery and Green Peppers

Creamed vegetables on toast are one of my favorite comfort foods, so I was thrilled to find a hundred-year-old recipe for a combination that was new to me. Creamed Celery and Green Pepper is delightful. The celery and the green pepper complement each other perfectly. The chunks of green pepper add flavor and reduce any bitterness in the celery.  This quick and easy recipe is a keeper.

Here’s the original recipe:

Source: Good Housekeeping (October, 1917)

And, here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Creamed Celery and Green Pepper

  • Servings: 3 - 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 1/2 cups celery, cut in 1-inch pieces

1 small green pepper (1/2 of a typical large supermarket green pepper), cut into vertical slices 3/4 inch wide, then halved

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

dash pepper

1 1/2 cups milk


Put celery in a saucepan, and cover with water. Using high heat bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until tender. Remove from heat and drain.  Stir green pepper pieces into the celery.

In the meantime, in a skillet, melt butter using low heat. Stir the flour into the butter; add salt and pepper. While stirring constantly, slowly pour in milk and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the celery and green pepper pieces, and bring back to a boil; remove from heat. Serve over toast.

Classic Pear and Celery Salad Recipe

Food presentation is an art. I occasionally see lovely food designs in hundred-year-old magazines that may not quite work a century later. Then again, maybe they do. As food fads wax and wane over time, these old presentations sometimes almost seem refreshingly cutting edge.  Pear and Celery Salad definitely is dramatic, and is sure to be a conversation item at any party; however,I have mixed feelings about whether it is a fun but quirky recipe, or just a bit odd.

Source: Libby’s Advertisement in Ladies Home Journal (February, 1918)

The Pear and Celery Salad is placed on a bed of celery leaves, which creates a beautiful foundation for the salad. Celery slices are heaped into a large mound in the center of the plate, and then surrounded by canned pear halves (poached fresh pear halves would also work well). The mounded celery is topped with a mayonnaise, chili sauce, and nut dressing.

This recipe definitely turned out better than I thought it might. The tender pears melted in my mouth and  their delicate flavor was nicely balanced by the crunchy celery and nuts. The dressing reminded me a little of French salad dressing, except that it was nutty instead of smooth. The dressing worked well with the celery – and was intriguing with the pears.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Pear and Celery Salad

  • Servings: 6 - 8
  • Difficulty: moderate
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3 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons chili sauce

1/2 cut walnuts or other nuts, chopped

celery leaves from 1 head of celery

approximately 2 1/2 cups celery, cut into 1/2 – inch slices

1 29-ounce can of pear halves, drained

To make the dressing, place the mayonnaise and chili sauce in a small bowl; stir until combined. Add nuts, and stir. Set aside.

Arrange celery leaves on serving plate, then place the sliced celery in a pile in the center of the plate. Surround the heaped celery with the pear halves which are stood on their edge. Gently spoon the dressing on top of the celery. There may be more dressing than needed. Reserve and extra dressing and serve separately.