The French call lovage céleri bâtard, "false celery," because of its strong resemblance to that plant. Lovage has been used since Greek and Roman times for everything from a seasoning, to a curative for maladies ranging from indigestion to freckles, to a love potion. It grows up to 7 feet high and has large, dark green, celerylike leaves. The flavor of the pale stalks is that of very strong celery. The leaves, seeds and stalks can be used (in small amounts because of their potent flavor) in salads, stews and other dishes such as fowl and game. The stalks can be cooked as a vegetable. Dried lovage leaves and chopped or powdered stalks can be found in natural food stores and gourmet markets. The seeds are commonly called celery seed. Lovage is also called smallage and smellage.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.