What Common Vegetable Was a Victorian Luxury Item?

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When dinner hosts in Victorian-era America really wanted to impress their dinner guests, they were sure to place a tall, glass vase in the center of the table. However, this wasn't meant to hold flowers. Instead, the vase would hold a green, leafy stalk of celery, the status-symbol vegetable of the mid- to late-19th century.

Celery was regarded as a sign of wealth and sophistication for Victorian families because of the precise conditions in which it was grown. When an especially leafy stalk was acquired, the table was set with the celery featured front and center.

Celery vases were eventually cast aside in favor of celery serving platters. Once the vegetable was made more widely available, it became less fashionable among America's wealthy, though it still appeared in recipes and on dinner plates across the country.