Cel-Ray Books


I was at the supermarket this evening in search of various things to make bean-and-tempeh sausage patties. Well, several supermarkets to be more accurate. One of the curious commercial adaptations to New York's pedestrian culture is that you get very few giant supermarkets like you get in the suburbs (and most other cities). It's simply not practical to travel several miles to a giant supermarket and haul home a dozen bags of groceries without a car. So instead, New York has lots of small supermarkets. I live between two, each no more than five minutes away. It makes it convenient to do quick hit-and-run grocery trips to do shopping, rather than buying a massive store of food, whittling that down, then stocking up again in one massive trip.

The downside is that, since the stores are a lot smaller, the selection tends to be limited. It's not unusual to find yourself wandering from store to store in search of someone that sells an uncommon food item. And if you've got even a moderate-sized list, there's a good chance you'll find yourself jackassing a load of groceries along with you as you gradually pick up the items you need.

Thus I found myself out in search of non-dairy bread crumbs, tempeh, white beans, and tamari. D'Agostino's proved a disappointment, as D'Agostino's tends to. Soy sauce, but no tamari. Tofu, but no tempeh. And the tofu they had was outrageously priced; $3.50 for a package of a notably low-quality brand. To give you a sense of the inflation there, a somewhat better quality tofu can be bought at a health food store a couple of blocks away for $1.79 per package. And while they had six kinds of bread crumbs, they all had whey in them. D'Agostino's is notably vegan-unfriendly; for any given product, if you can imagine some way to put dairy into it, D'Agostino's will stock only the brand that does so. They did, however, have dry white beans.

Morton Williams, on the other hand, has a better selection and is friendlier to vegans. Still no tempeh, but they had non-dairy bread crumbs and three brands of tamari. And they had something more, something I'd never seen before.


Doc Brown's Cel-Ray Celery-Flavored Soda. From the moment I saw the cans I resigned myself that I would be buying a six-pack. The same impulse that causes me to make things like hot-and-spicy oatmeal compels me to buy food products that cannot possibly be good (like Grapples, half apple, half grape!).

I should point out tha I'm not even really a big celery fan. It's alright, I don't dislike it, but it's always an ingredient that I have to go out and buy separately when a recipe calls for it because I don't make a practice of keeping it around. Still, celery flavored soda was too intriguing to pass up.

And the verdict?


Meh. I've had worse. It's a bland, ginger ale-like experience, only instead of tasting vaguely like ginger it tastes vaguely like celery seeds. This strikes me as one of those products that probably has a very small niche market, possibly an entirely New York-based market, and persists only through the loyalty of people who grew up on it.


I'm honestly more interested in the book sitting on your counter than the celery soda. Does that say Vegan Vengeance? Or Vegan with a Vengeance? Either way my roommate officially finds it threatening.

It's Vegan with a Vengeance, and I'm very excited about it. I've only tried a couple of breakfast dishes thus far, but I've got most everything together for a third and I'm starting to build up a nice pantry so as to make future meals easier to get together. Full review forthcoming once I've tried a greater variety of the dishes, but so far this is my favorite cookbook ever, vegan or not.

And if your roommate finds this cookbook threatening, he should be aware that the author's working on a sequel, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.

Comment Update: The author of the book, Isa Chandra Moskowitz, has a livejournal, on which she has posted photos of cupcakes from her upcoming cupcake book.

The Grappels were, and still are, the best purchase I've ever made.

In what sense did you "make" the purchase of Grapples? As I recall, I'm the one who noticed them, first suggested we buy them, decided to make the purchase (admittedly, after some goading from you), carried them from the counter, and paid for them using my money. Also, as I recall, three of the four Grapples were eaten entirely by me, plus most of the fourth after you tried it and decided you didn't like it.

Ah. I believe you failed to read the small print at the end of her sentence. "The Grapples were, and still are, the best purchase I've ever made [my brother make]."

Oh you are so full of lies! Mom was the one who paid for those because she gave us money to buy bagettes and beer, and we used the rest of it to buy grapples. And the grapples reaction was exactly the opposite. I enjoyed the grapple and you were all pish-toshy at it because they just made it smell like a grape. Ask Brette, she's always making fun of me because of how much I liked them.

Really? Huh. I thought I ate most of the grapple, and I thought Brette was making fun of you just for having been all excited about them when we bought them.

Also: Bagettes and Beer? When was this?

hahaha ooooooh the trips to the supermarket for bagettes and beer....could we be more white trash? And also, im afraid im going to have to side with zach on this one. I believe kelsey had one bite, said "this tastes like a regular apple!" and then made zach eat the rest. I also believe that i make fun of both of you fools for buying the half- grape, half- apple abomination in the first place.

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This page contains a single entry by Zach published on September 12, 2006 10:28 PM.

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