Thursday, May 17, 2012

Kale Tale: A Romantic Comedy

Like the protagonists in many romantic comedy films (or “romcoms,” as I like to call them), Kale and I first bumped into each other at a farmers market. At first I was skeptical of Kale – it’s not like people don’t eat it at all back east, but they certainly don’t subsist on it like they do here in southern California.

It’s easy to see why everyone out here loves it, though: not only is it an incredibly attractive type of cabbage, it’s high in vitamins K and C, calcium, and contains cancer-fighting sulforaphane. Even so, enjoying kale felt a bit like abandoning my roots.

But I couldn’t help it. Kale just tasted so good on everything, and I had to admit that I got a little kick out of embracing Kale; it made me feel sinfully earthy-crunchy (although I never went so far as to sprinkle bits of Kale on my granola – but there’s an idea for a rainy day!). It even smelled good the few times I accidentally burned it to the bottom of the wok in which I had been stir-frying it.

After a while, I tried to find interesting ways to spice up my relationship with Kale (without actually making it spicy). I tried eating it raw, but Kale was not into that type of thing. I realized that if I wanted to eat Kale raw, I’d have to massage it with oils first (oils of the olive variety, not the sensual massage kind). Otherwise, Kale gets revenge on my digestive system. Kale is kind of a spoiled b*tch.

Now that Kale and I were in a long-term relationship, we decided to get to know more about each other. Well, actually, Kale didn’t care all that much about getting to know more about me. But I wanted to know more about Kale. And what better place to rekindle a spark than back where we met for the first time: the farmers market!

At The Garden Of… farm stand, I learned something new: there are many different kinds of Kale. You might say Kale has multiple personalities. Or you might not say that, it’s up to you.

The Garden Of… (which has a delightfully mysterious name; garden of what?!) was selling bags that included a mixture of five different varieties. Here are a few of the most important kinds:

Curly Kale
This is the frilly, fun-looking kind most people are familiar with. It’s also called Scots Kale (but it doesn’t play the bagpipes, or this relationship would have ended long ago).

Chidori Kale
This kale is reddish-pink and tastes sweeter than other kinds.

Redbor Kale
This kale turns magenta (so... kind of the same color as Chidori Kale...) in cool climates and has a crisp texture.

Rape Kale
Don’t accept drinks from this kind of kale.

Dinosaur Kale
This flat, wide kale is prehistoric, planted by God to trick us into believing in evolution.

Red Russian Kale
This kale is grey and spindly, not to be confused with White Russian Kale. Incidentally, if Rape Kale hands you a White Russian, don’t drink it.


  1. Hahaha! Love it! I too am a fan of Kale. We aren't as exclusive. We like to have a good time once in awhile, but we know there are other greens to have fun with. Actually had lacinato kale today. Shh don't tell curly!

    1. Hi! I've never heard of Lacinato kale - though I've probably had some kind of relationship with it at some point. What's it like??