Mrs. Kate’s Salad Dressing

Celery Seed Salad Dressing


Celery seed has a strong odor and flavor, that I have discovered is one I do not like. When I was a kid we went camping a lot, and often driving past the acres of farmland I would smell the celery growing. It was never a good smell for me. But I do like celery to eat. Yes, weird, I know. Did you know that celery in its natural state looks different from the celery we purchase in the store? The stalks are clearly cut by the time we see them in the local Von’s, but celery has a leafy head which reminds me of giant parsley. Indeed, the word etymology begins with the Greek word selinon, meaning parsley.

Borrowed image from

While celery originated in Greece, it eventually made its way to England by the 17th century, and America shortly after that. It was featured as a ‘winter’ food, so as to counteract the heavy salt use and flavors of preserved winter meats. Because it was at times difficult to grow, it was once considered a delicacy, and even spawned celery vases in some Victorian households. The vase was filled with water and the cleaned stalks were placed within, kept fresh all day, and available as a treat in between meals. It showed the family’s disposable wealth to be able to serve celery at any time.

From the Metropolitan Museum of Art

All that from the lowly, stinky celery seed!

Mrs. Kate’s Salad Dressing (Celery Seed)

1 cup sugar

1/4 teas salt

1/4 cup vinegar (I used 1/2)

1/2 teas dry mustard

2 teas celery seed

1/2 med onion (grated)

Beat until sugar well dissolved. Add very slowly while beating 1 1/2 cup Wesson (more or less)

2 thoughts on “Mrs. Kate’s Salad Dressing

  1. Lovely celery vase, but too bad it’s for celery. Just not a fan. I really can’t stand the “strings” in celery–did you know they are called sclerenchyma? I have some fantastic cross-sections of celery in my biology notebooks that I drew. Even cooked the flavor is a bit overwhelming, although a little, and I mean LITTLE, bit is fine in stuffing or chow mein. I could never stand ants on a log in Camp Fire Girls. I would rather eat actual ants on a log.


  2. Another alternative for the common grocery store celery is Lovage. It is a perinnial that has been around for centuries. It has a lovely, rich taste with thinner stalks. Makes wonderful chicken salad. Unfortunately I could not find this in any store or farmers market. I had to order seeds and grow for my own use. I like to share this oldie but goodie plant with friends.


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