Sauteed Celery

Last week marked our final obon odori practice. (Read my post on obon.) As was our weekly routine for the past month: Bebe E and I attended practice with my Mom and our friends, Bebe E would enjoy a popsicle during the break, we would miss the second half because of bebe-bedtime, and then she and I would spend the night at my parents home to avoid having to drive late at night.

On the evening of obon practice, each week my Mom would prepare dinner for us. Last week, she made a very simple celery side dish that I absolutely couldn’t get enough of. Celery is one of those vegetables that is unpopular at my house so I usually sneak them into dishes such as spaghetti, stir-fry, or soup but no one really loves it the way I do. My husband eats it because I’ve cooked it in a dish, but if he had the choice, he wouldn’t eat it. The girls are the same way, although Bebe E enjoys it in her soup and will ask me what it is, nod, then happily eat more.

If, however, I prepared a side dish simply of celery, no one would eat it but me. Which is why I never make celery as a side dish.

You can imagine how happy I was when I sat down at my parents dining table last week to find a plate of sautéed celery. I fed Bebe E a few bites but she’s sensitive to black pepper and she didn’t care for the stringy texture of the celery. Oh well, maybe she’ll grow to like this one day. After all, she didn’t like her first bite of natto (fermented soy beans), but she’s loved it ever since she’s had her second bite!

This sautéed celery recipe is the kind of dish that doesn’t really need a recipe because of it’s simplicity. No added herbs, no garlic, no fancy ingredients.

My Mom’s Sauteed Celery

  • 3 – 4 stalks of celery
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Canola oil

1. Devein celery. Slice celery into 2-inch strips.

2. Heat oil, add celery and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until celery is cooked through. Serve immediately.

Thanks for dinner, Mom, and thanks for the yummy sautéed celery!

As for the Japanese obon festival, the season is slowly winding down as most of our local temples have held their obon. We visited the Orange County obon festival over the weekend but unfortunately we arrived late to discover that most of the food we wanted was sold out. The good news is that Bebe E got to dance for a little bit.

On our way home, Bebe E asked us why she didn’t get a popsicle after she danced. Laughing, we had to explain to her that the popsicle was a treat that was provided only during break at our practices, but not at this specific obon festival. I wonder if the popsicle is the reason why she wanted to go to obon practice?!?

Good times!




4 thoughts on “Sauteed Celery

  1. I wanted to tell you that for the first time, we went to Senshin’s obon. They are one of the few churches that only have some food booths and dancing (no carnival games). I thought the kids would be bored but it was the first time the kids (including the boys) danced the whole time! After the dance, they went in to do oshoko (incense offering) and they have this amazing lighting of 1000 oil candles in honor of the ancestors. The kids got to light one each. As a closing for the evening, everyone had a bowl of Somen and listened to their taiko group play. I think the kids really enjoyed it! I’m hoping to go every year! :)

  2. How fun! There are no obon festivities here. :( We are out at the tip of Long Island visiting Jamie’s grandparents. How impressive Bebe E eats natto! I never grew up with it, and I can’t do it. Even my Japanese relatives in the Kansai region don’t eat it! (I guess it’s more of a Kanto thing? Though my mom loves it and her parents were from Kansai) . What a fun way to eat celery too — love the simple recipe!

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