Sunday, June 16, 2013

Kale? No, Thank you.

Food fads get on my nerves. Every year it seems like some everyone discovers some new ingredient and suddenly it's everywhere in everything. Sometimes it's because something tastes good (bacon and chipotles) and sometimes it's because it's supposed to be healthy (oat bran) and sometimes we get lucky and something tastes good and is healthy too (pomegranates). Other times I have no idea why it's popular (sea salt).

The bacon thing got really old for me really fast. Yes, I get it. Bacon's good, now can we all please carry on with our lives? Bacon was EVERYWHERE I went. I felt like bacon was stalking me. I'm surprised they didn't start making bacon scented Yankee candles. They made sea salt candles, which are now in Marshalls, and have you ever smelled sea salt? It smells like nothing, and the candles are blue and smell like men's deodorant, so don't ask me why they are called sea salt scented candles. An actual sea salt candle would be white and unscented like actual sea salt, but hey, marketing, I guess. But yeah, bacon just wouldn't quit. I even saw bacon flavored coffee and bacon in preserves. Luckily it didn't make it as far as green tea and pomegranate and end up in shampoo or we'd all be walking around smelling like we'd just been at a bonfire.

Kale seems to have replaced bacon. Personally, I think Kale owes its current popularity to the previous bacon fad. It's a backlash. After all that salty, nitrite addled, pig fat, people realized they needed to jump on a healthier bandwagon and they embraced a bitter, fibrous, leafy green. I mean, kale is in every way the opposite of bacon. Black/ White. Nice/ Mean. Rainy/ Sunny. Bacon/ Kale.

I'm being haunted by kale. Kale has stormed Pinterest and facebook and every cookbook and restaurant menu I've come across in the past few months. Kale has taken over and I hate it. Kale is disgusting. At least, dammit, bacon tasted and smelled good cooking. Kale is awful and stinks like nursing home flatulence when you cook it. There is nothing pleasant about it except that it's good for you. It has calcium or something.

Kale juice is a big deal now too. All the beautiful people drink kale juice, you know. And kale juice is an odd phenomenon because kale isn't...juicy. It's very dry, so all the kale juice I've ever had has been like a sludge of finely ground leaves suspended in water or some other more palatable liquid like fruit juice. It doesn't work for me.

And there are just so many different kinds of kale now too. Ugh. It's ridiculous. There's curly kale and flat kale, purple kale even. There's something called Lacinato kale which is fancy and Italian and there's even dinosaur kale. I haven't figured out why it's called that but every time I hear it, all I can picture is the raptors in the kitchen scene of Jurassic Park except instead of velociraptors, a giant, snarling, hissing bunch of kale is stalking innocent children hiding in a cabinet. 

Can we talk about these kale chips? A good idea in theory, kale chips. Much better for you than carby, oily, starchy potato chips. Bloggers all over the world swear they are "addictive", "better than potato chips!" Umm. No. I made them. I even bought the kale at Whole Foods. I followed the recipe exactly and while my chips were thin and crispy, they were also bitter and kind of weirdly fishy. A disaster all around.

Lately I've been seeing a lot of recipes that call for the cook to "massage" the raw kale leaves with olive oil and sea salt so that the kale will soften and can be eaten without being cooked. I'm sorry, but I don't want to eat anything that needs a massage. You know who needs a massage? Me. How about this, Kale. You run after a two year old who refuses to wear anything except pink tulle and screams "NO!" all day long, and then you can have your olive oil and sea salt massage, ok?

Until then, I'll stick with lettuce. And bacon.

Now excuse me while I go check out the new line of Kale scented Yankee candles and Herbal Essence's latest kale extract, miracle conditioner.

* Photo above from and I am totally creeped out by the idea that kale wants to have sex with me without a commitment. Sorry, Kale, but I am no booty call, especially for a leafy green.


Anonymous said...,-bacon!/1264203

This is, unfortunately, very real.

Anonymous said...

The secret, here, is kale + bacon. Add potatoes, too, if you like.

Up here in the Pacific Northwest, kale grows year round :/ I think they had you a bunch when you cross the border to convert you to the way of kale consumption...

There is no excuse for kale juice.

Anonymous said...

I can honestly say that I liked kale long before it became the thing to do~ I just love greens of all sorts. I cook it in some olive oil with garlic and a splash of balsamic vinegar. We have it on the side with pasta dishes. The kale chips from the Co-Op were overpriced. I made one batch and said forget it. I do like the hard and crunchy kale and spinach chips that I bought at Publix in the deli~ they are a corn chip and quite tasty.

Laurie Evans said...

Yup, there's a Yankee candle that smells like bacon.,-bacon!/1264203

It's part of their "man candle" series.

Kerry said...

Your comments about dinosaur kale stalking children made me giggle. :)

cie said...

I hear you. I made kale chips and they were revolting. If I eat fried food it should be good and worth the calories.
As for the candles, if I want my house to smell like food I will cook.

Becca said...

Kale is kale, we grow it every year in our garden and we cook itl like spinach. The key to get it to taste like spinach is to add baking soda to it while it is boiling to take away the bitter :)

Anonymous said...

For me the only thing kale is good for is a plate decoration. You know, that big green leaf that they put my hamburger on top of at the restaurant to make it look like it's fancier than it really is.

Anonymous said...

I eat 3-4 bunches leafy greens per day. I blend them, juice them, and make salads. But I just tried kale for the first time and its disgusting. It ruined a perfectly good green smoothie. I just forced myself to drink half and now I'm nauseous from the taste. The rest is going in the garbage.

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