I was at least 15 years old before anybody explained the popular snack “ants on a log” to me. If you, like me, were deprived of the glories of cutesy, Martha Stewart-style snacks as child, let me break it down for you.
It's a crescent-shaped celery spear slathered with creamy peanut butter, topped with raisins in a line, which is meant to mimic ants atop a tree trunk. It's crunchy, stringy and utterly tasteless.
For that matter, most recipes involving stalks of celery usually are, and with good reason. NPR, interviewing a series of botanists and anthropologists, reports the caloric equivalent of a cumulus cloud was probably never meant to be part of our regular meals.
Instead, it would have been cultivated in China around the fifth century to aid in sex and hangovers. The world's least sexy (though admittedly phallic) fibrous vegetable has allegedly been helping men get boners for hundreds of years in Egypt, Rome and the like.
Although jokes about the rigidity of the celery stalk are apt, they're also more accurate than you'd think. Back then, treating penis-shaped foods as sexual aids was quite common.
By the 17th century, the lowly celery had moved into the kitchen. It might not have packed the punch of Viagra, but it was worth a try. National Geographic cites legendary lovers like Giacomo Casanova as being well known for munching on the string stalk to get his blood pumping. When you have that many ladies to please, you'll resort to anything.
Today, food scientists know celery actually contains androsterone, a steroid that comes from male sex hormones. If you've ever smelled a sweaty dude and found yourself getting a little hot under the collar, that's the pheromone you can blame (although there's no medical proof celery cures hangovers and low sex drive).
Sex or no sex, the universal fact remains that celery is disgusting unless its buried beneath half a pound of hummus or ranch dip. It's essentially the baby carrot's weird cousin who keeps tagging along to parties.