Behold, the giant celeriac.
After my local supermarket closed due to rising rent, I began ordering fruit, vegetables, meat and fish from New York area online grocer FreshDirect. Now and then I get a hilarious surprise.
Like this gnarled and tuberous Medusa head. When it was unpacked, it turned out to be the size of a brain and the weight of a puppy. Without a penny in the photograph, you'll have to take my word for it. How else would you know? You're in my exact same situation, stuck between a photograph and a thought.
A glance at the receipt showed it weighed out at $10.49. Would I have bought it in a store? Never. Still, less of a good story than the time my husband's aunt ordered a catalog sweater for her husband and received a mobile home instead. Or when my father mistyped and bought 1,000 shares online instead of the intended 100 (happily for him, the stock went up).
The Internet genies can be capricious. Press the magic button and you never know what might arrive next. Too bad for you, you often keep it. That 70-pound beige wool rug I expected to be ivory? Unrolled, it was too heavy to return. The fluffy featherbed that rose like helium to the heavens? Impossible to stuff back into its original plastic package. And so it goes.
Not everything that comes was meant to be. Just last month, gremlins at Bloomingdale's tossed a free $448 silk color-block dress by Tory Burch into my box of promised bed linens. I'd won a lottery I hadn't even entered. It took maximum effort and ethics to return it. I was so flattered by the size 4.
One thing I know for sure. Magnificent root vegetables should not be eaten quickly. Repurposed as art, my celeriac was quite the steal. I put it on a marble pedestal and for a few days had an organic Giuseppe Arcimboldo (Italian Renaissance painter of vegetable-headed dignitaries), or bust by Philip Haas (contemporary American sculptural interpreter of Arcimboldo). My kitchen glimmered with the transformation.
And then I chopped it into soup.