...a delicious
--Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, Simone Beck

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(Apium graveolens, var. rapaceum)

Celery root is NOT the root of the celery we buy in the stores. Both are members of the same family, but more like first cousins once removed. Sure, celeriac produces stalks--but they are as tough and strong as their root is sweet and spongy.

It looks like a big knobby piece of wood in the store--and packs a mere 154 calories per pound! Although it's pretty high in sodium, it's a dieter's dream vegetable--filling, rich, fibrous, massively nutritious, and ostentatiously lacking in calories. Although it doesn't have the satisfying crunch of celery, it can be substituted for it in any cooked dish.

Originally cultivated in the Mediterranean and in northern Europe, it was finally introduced into England in the 18th century--and didn't take long to wander over to the New World from there, though it's never really caught on as a main-stream vegetable. The French adore it and can't get enough of it in a cold julienne as a first course.