Why am I thinking about celery? I don't know but here are some ideas.
Some people like celery. Some find it very uninteresting. And some dislike its characteristic flavor. Stalks of celery rarely appear as the main ingredient in frequently-served American or French recipes. The ingredient is more often in the background of complex dishes; for example, celery contributes flavor to stocks and stews. I often save the leafy tops from a package of celery, freezing them along with the stems of herbs like parsley or green onions and a few nice chicken bones for the stock pot.
Some classics like tuna salad, coleslaw, or Waldorf salad use celery for extra crunch as well as for the added flavor. French dishes like celery remoulade and celery puree use celery root (also called celeriac) which is pictured above. The Larousse Gastronomique, an encyclopedia of French cuisine, offers quite a few celery preparations, though these seem kind of obscure. It can be cooked in butter or stock or served raw with various salad dressings. Many of the specified dishes follow a recipe originally written for some other vegetable (such as artichokes) and say just substitute celery, for example Celery a la Grecque, made with the standard ingredients including olive oil and spices like coriander seeds and cilantro leaves.
It's strange, but I've never tried Campbell's cream of celery soup, or for that matter any other celery soup -- though that's another classic use for this vegetable. Braised celery (which is simply celery browned in butter and cooked in stock) is another dish I haven't tried, though I intend to try it some time. Of course I am quite familiar with celery included as one of several roast vegetables along with potatoes and carrots, or as a flavor and texture booster in the most commonly-made stuffing for the Thanksgiving turkey.
A Little History and Botany
CELERY. CÉLERI- A cultivated form of wild celery.
Used a great deal by the Romans, celery did not come into cultivation until the sixteenth century. In some cases growers have tried to develop the leaves, in others the root.
This plant contains an essential oil, which is highly aromatic. According to the different varieties, either the stems are eaten, elongated by trussing or culture in the dark, or the roots (celeriac). Both are eaten raw, in salad, or cooked.
Asian Dishes with Celery
"Chinese celery is somewhat different from the celery that typically lines most produce shelves in American supermarkets. It has a much stronger flavor than Western celery, and the stalks of Chinese celery are thinner, often with a hollow middle. Although more slender than the celery we use for tuna salad and Bloody Marys, it is recommended that you gently crush the celery stalks before adding to a recipe, which will result in better texture and more flavor. Chinese celery is rarely eaten raw as it is pungent and somewhat peppery; when cooked, however, it becomes sweet and mellow with a pleasant, soft texture."