Last week Annie decided a little change of scenery was in order and asked if she could visit for the weekend. Since we would be around with no trips on the weekend agenda, I jumped at the chance to spend time with her, even if it meant that most of her time would be focused on studying.
Lucky Annie. Home cooking instead of cafeteria food for a couple of days. And what had I planned for Friday night? Would it be our favorite macaroni and cheese recipe? Scrumptious Tequila Shredded Pork Tacos? Comforting Chicken Chili with Corn? No, none of those. Our lucky daughter came home on the night I had planned to make a kale and goat cheese frittata for dinner. Screeeeeech.
Bad timing. As I was pulling out the ingredients, I remembered that Annie doesn’t love goat cheese. Although she will eat it, the cheese is barely tolerable to her. Since I had some asiago in the refrigerator, I offered that as a substitution, to which she agreed. But then…. the kale. She will eat kale, but is this what a starving college student looks forward to when she returns to the bosom of her mother’s kitchen. I don’t think so. And as we all morosely swallowed our dinner, I apologized for this big disappointment. She didn’t complain, they train you well in college.
But kale. How did that become so trendy, so popular, dare I say Beloved? Has anybody truly tasted this potentially bitter, dull vegetable? How do health benefits turn something into a culinary darling? Why do I jump at recipes that list it among the ingredients, before thinking about how it will taste when served?
It happened to all of us, and I bought into the hype like the rest of the planet.
Oh, yummy, dusty kale chips, just as good as potato chips. Not.
Kale smoothies, so green, so healthful, so green! Ick.
Kale frittata, talk about killing a good dozen eggs and cheese.
Our ability to buy into the collective inanity is astounding. Eat your kale as it was meant to be eaten as a vegetable side dish, cooked with garlic to a nice soft consistency in olive oil, flavored with lots of salt and pepper. Don’t eat it raw. The texture requires too much effort to chew. And don’t try to pretend that it’s something that it’s not. It’s not a tasty smoothie addition. It’s not a substitute for chips. And don’t tell me to sneak it into baked goods either, even if there are thousands of kale desserts on Pinterest pretending to be delicious. Don’t be fooled. These are the recipes for moms to trick their kids, the ones who don’t have savvy palates, into eating vegetables.
People, wake up and notice that kale isn’t delicious while masquerading as something other than a vegetable. Have you forgotten that peasants ate it as part of a healthy diet, not as a treat pulled out for celebrations? Have we all gone collectively insane? Taste your food and then decide whether you really should be drinking it. Or whether it’s really compatible with eggs and cheese. I think that perhaps we need to listen more as we’re encouraged to be more mindful as we go about our days. We shove this healthy food into our mouths while thinking about how good it is for us, and we don’t bother to focus on the flavor, or lack thereof.
Or, perhaps that’s the secret to a healthy diet. Don’t be mindful when you eat healthy food. Just shovel it in and hope for the best.