No more fracking kale!

What is all the fuss about?

Image courtesy mindbodygreen.com

May I speak frankly? Thank you.

I hate kale. I mean I really, really loathe it. Even more than okra, even more than radishes.

It’s not for lack of trying it either. I have nibbled the ubiquitous superfood in salads, baked it into chips, steamed, buttered, braised and sautéed it. I’ve even tried tarting it up with spicy mango salsa, and the verdict is in, children. Kale is nasty. It tastes exactly the way I imagine soylent green would, and it smells like the inside of a teenage boy’s sneaker as it cooks, after which time the aroma of putrid cabbage lingers in the house for approximately five years. The odor has a half-life, people!

Kale stalks are tough and fiberous, the taste makes you wretch, and it returns on you, if you take my meaning. The last time I gagged some down, the flavor lingered in my mouth even after three toothbrushings, a careful flossing and Listerine rinse, and half a dozen tequila shooters with lime and salt. That is some awe-inspiring staying power.

Yeah yeah yeah, I know, it’s got every freakin’ vitamin and nutrient in the world and probably a bunch that haven’t even been discovered yet. There’s folic acid and protein in the leaves, it regulates your digestion, conquers cancer and prevents every disease known to man, as well as — again — some horrible afflictions no one has even come down with, let alone found a cure for, as yet. It’s downright miraculous.

Get your lard on.
Image courtesy http://www.thekitchn.com

Which is why, I suppose, it is currently turning up on every goddamned plate in every overpriced, artisanal restaurant in New York City, more often than not accompanied by pork belly, lardons, thick cut bacon or some other equally fatty, heavily smoked, thoroughly undigestible subcutaneous pork product. By the time the dynamic duo of leaves like wire brushes and jagged nuggets of semi-masticated pork scratchings has blazed a trail through your digestive tract, you will be keenly aware of having eaten something, let me assure you. And don’t even get me started on what it takes to extract the remnants of same from between your crowns. A little after dinner fracking, anyone?

So I’m drawing a line in the sand — think of me as the Gaddafi of roughage. There will be no more kale in the Slattern’s culinary realm. I will not buy it in the pathetic hope that I will find an appetizing and savory way to cook it. If it appears as a side dish for a $25 entrée, I will insist on extra cauliflower gratin instead. And if someone offers me a green smoothie saying, “You’ll never guess what’s in this!” they’d best be prepared to wear it.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Think you’ve got the stomach for even more semi-coherent ranting? I’m not so sure, but if you’re game, why not check out these other posts? Welcome to the monkey house, folks.

How ’bout some cheese with those fries?

Sunday Morning: Of buttermilk and headaches

Fear and loathing at the Fairway

Girls’ night with Martha

In the event this is all too much, may I suggest you take a gander at some of the blogs listed right over there in the sidebar? All are excellent and bear the Slattern’s seal of approval.

About WSW

Writer, wife, mother. Toiler in the bottomless, black, soul-sucking coal mine of domestic life. Thank God for the portable bar.

Posted on November 6, 2012, in Friendly Advice, Rants, UGH Healthy Eating and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 173 Comments.

  1. Massaged kale is wonderful. Imagine a salad with kale, pomegranate and a lovely vinaigrette, maybe some lemon. You will end up in heaven. And lightly steamed kale with some vegetable broth and apples thrown into the mix.
    It’s not something to miss out on. Or maybe it’s a vegan thing…

    I love how you handle your distaste for food. I do the same with cauliflower and burssels sprouts.

    • I’m always happy to hear people like the dreaded kale, though I don’t share your feelings about the other cruciferous vegs. Thanks for looking in!

  2. You’ve done it. I’ve been following the kale discussion. All the activity has caused a major crisis in the produce department. They have frickin gourmet kale. They sell it bags all washed and everything. Kale made the comuc strips Big Nate had a strip about kale. The insanity has to stop.

    • I know I shouldn’t point this out, Tom, but If you’re looking to throttle back the insanity, this is probably not the best place to start.

  3. i’d try and defend it for the nutritional powerhouse that it is, but you can’t help that you (clearly) just don’t like it… i’m that way with peanut butter :)

  4. OMG I hate Kale so much! I went to cooking school and we used that crap all the time in the food or just to garnish the plate. To me, it’s that kind of gross food that old people love to order all the time, to which everyone looks and thinks, “WTF?!”.

    • You went to cooking school and you stopped in HERE? Now it’s my turn to ask WTF?! Glad to see you. Wish I were dressed better for the visit. ;)

  5. I tried Kale twice. Once on the way down. It didn’t taste any better on the return trip. So gross. Also I nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. http://therantingpapizilla.wordpress.com/2012/11/12/very-inspiring-blogger-award/

    • Thank you, Papi! I find it hard to believe I would inspire anything other than a trip to Betty Ford, but if you say so, I’m on board.

      Sorry about your kale experience, but not surprised.

  6. I actually LIKE kale, lol – particularly in soups (stands up better than spinach and freezes very well.) Having said that, I do enjoy your point of view. I’m glad I stopped by, will be visiting often. :)

  7. couldn’t agree more man, what the fuck is the deal with everyone’s obsession with kale?!?! although the above ^ commenter’s red grape kale dish actually sounds pretty good..

    • Is there anything red grapes don’t improve? I’d have to say, however, that even the mighty grape would be hard pressed (sorry, couldn’t resist) to render the loathsome kale palatable. Glad to have you aboard!

  8. I agree, Kale is disgusting. I think it’s gaining popularity just because it stores really well and it’s in season. Unless these people are secretly injecting it with some butter and cocaine at the last– who am I kidding, nothing would make this vegetable taste better.

  9. I can eat Kale. I prefer other greens however. I’ve made Kale “chips” which are a lot like potato chips. It’s a bit tricky to make them because you have to bake them in the oven and watch them carefully so they don’t get too black. Even if you don’t eat them, you might enjoy cremating them.

  10. This just popped in my “in” box and I couldn’t think of anyone who’d appreciate it more:

    http://rantingchef.com/2012/11/10/last-to-the-party-again/

  11. Kale is indeed the work of the devil. I have no idea what a teenager’s sneakers smell like, but I guess it isn’t very nice.
    You want an alleged ‘superfood’? Not that they exist outside of some nutter’s imaginings. But try Swiss chard if you’re looking for brassicas you can actually eat without throwing up.
    There’s a whole post on messingaboutinthekitchen.wordpress.com about this miraculous vegetable.
    Thing about kale is it’s just crap. Even Savoy cabbage, white cabbage, even goddam spring greens are a delicacy by comparison.
    You’ll find a bit more about them on my blog, too

    • I’m actually partial to beet greens and I do enjoy Swiss chard as well. That’s why I suppose it was such a disappointment to find that kale is, as you so correctly put it, the work of the devil. ;)

      • I cheated a bit, because chard isn’t a brassica, it’s a root vegetable derived from sea beet. So it’s related to beetroot, and hence I guess to beet greens.
        Thing is that chard is sublime, and beetroot in all its forms is the satanic cousin of kale.
        Odd, that.

  12. I know you loathe the stuff but have you tried Kale Pesto? http://yesanotherfoodblog.com/2012/10/30/kale-pesto/

    Funny post! You’ve just gained another follower even though I’m a kale muncher :)

    • That’s a good thought, but I’m sorry to report that I have a deep and abiding dislike for pesto as well, which is odd because I like all the ingredients, just not all pureed up and befouling my pasta. sigh.

      If you’ll follow my blog, you can munch anything you want. Heck, you could be an okra lover and a radish Aficionado and I’d still say “Welcome aboard!

  13. I know what I’m having for dinner tonight! Vodka marinated George Clooney kale. In fact I might have my dinner early. And alone.

  14. Too funny! Although I actually kinda love kale, I laughed out loud reading your post! I totally get the okra thing though so I know where you’re coming from. Strangely enough, I recently wrote a post praising kale and gave four recipes guaranteed to change the mind of even the staunchest kale hater! Are you up for the challenge? http://www.goodforyoudotcom.wordpress.com

    • I’ll take it under advisement, but I have been told that filling the house with the stench of cooked kale will have consequences. Serious consequences. Thanks for dropping in.

  15. OMG! This is hilarious. I was just about to ask if you’d tried it with some other accents? I tried kale for the first time at Wegmans last week with peppers and special sauce. It was pretty good. Do you like cabbage?

  16. Well, well, well. I embark on my three-day alcohol diet and am only 2 hours into it, find your post’s been Freshly Pressed! If I were more sober, I’d say, “Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!” but since I just had a sip of Chinese rice wine which tastes like sweaty gym socks, I can only say, “Nnnnggaaaarbbbb….” But it’s a very heartfelt, “”Nnnnggaaaarbbbb” – you must believe me.

  17. Blend it into soup!! Oh and surely you don’t think it’s any worse than Cavolo Nero??

  18. Well said! I keep buying the damn stuff and never cooking it because it just never even looks good to me. It sits in the fridge until it starts to turn embarassingly disgusting. So kuddos for at least cooking and trying the crap. My trash bin is the only thing that’s tasted ours.

  19. I am generally opposed to ranting, negative posts, but kale so deserves it! Well done. Has to be the worst thing I’ve ever eaten. Down with kale!

  20. I worked at a health food store for two years and kale flew off the shelves like snacks at a convenience store. Never could stomach it. Very entertaining post! I hope one day you discover a way to enjoy it :)

  21. I had such a roar of laughter about this post. Just *last night* my wife did a stir-fry of – yup! – kale with olive oil and onions. It was the *first time ever* that I thought the vegetable was nearly palatable. Notice, I said *nearly* palatable.

  22. Your article was great fun to read…BUT…having just recently tried kale fresh from someone’s garden in a salad…unplugged, uncooked…wow what flavour! Kale is now at the top of my list of favorite salad ingredients! I haven’t tried it cooked yet so cannot comment on the sneaker aroma.

  23. The only time I truly enjoy kale is when I can’t taste it. So I know what you are speaking about. I’ve tried many different ways. It’s like a repentance food for me, you eat it to repent for all the other crap you’ve eaten lately.

  24. Hahahaha, very true. However if you ever want to give it another go I have found that if I add it to my breakfast smoothie and blend the hell out of it I don’t even notice it’s there :)

  25. I’m a kale convert, but this post was hilarious and awesome and a cure for the common food blog. Subscribed.

  26. I have nightmares about kale….haha I try to be creative in the kitchen though so maybe change is brewing. Great post and Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  27. I’ve seen kale touted everywhere, but I have yet to try it! I think about it, consider it, actually pull out a recipe, then I freak out and bury it under a pile of recipes. I’m leery of the collard greens, kale, okra, and such. I think I’ll just stick with asparagus. It’s woody and green, but tastes like heaven when roasted.

    Congrats on freshly pressed!

    • Give it a try. Make no mistake, I wish I liked it, and apparently many others do if my Comments section is to be believed. Mysterious. Thanks for stopping in!

  28. Love your use of the word fracking, thank you. Can you please make a rant about purslane- the horrible noxious weed that is being served as a side dish in overly trendy ridiculous NYC restaurants. It is disgusting. And ruins my garden. It is best served lightly sprayed with herbicide.

    • I have yet to encounter purslane, but I suspect it’s right up there with broccoli rabe and ramps as a palate abuser. Thanks for stopping in!

  29. Haha! Hilarious. In Kenya Kale / collard greens, whatever you call it, is a staple dish called sukuma wiki, it’s actually really good, try it out :) http://www.mwakenya.net/apps/blog/show/4907502-how-to-make-sukuma-wiki-kenyan-recipe – Those health friendly Kale recipes on the internet are honestly brutal.

    • I’ll take it under advisement, but really, if you’ve got to tart something up with an ocean of pork fat to choke it down, how innately delicious can it be?

  30. You’re right – give up on Kale. But if you can find it, try Cavolo Nero (Black Kale) instead. All the goodness, but with the additional bonus of flavour and all the worthiness taken out, Better still, it’s flat, so you don’t spend forever trying to wash soil out of the crevices and still end up with grit in your mouth. And why did you ever try to eat Kale stems?

    • I think I was so overcome by the stench as it cooked that I was hallucinating by the time I got the greens to the table. Thanks for the tip. :)

  31. so glad you were FPd so I could find you – love your voice–though do not put Ina in the same boat with the others–her “how easy is that?” philosophy sounds like yours
    I bought kale once and kept it guiltily in my fridge for two weeks until it wilted (that stuff has a long life)–I bought the hype but not enough to do something about it, and now this post has set me free

  32. Really? I loveeeeeeee Kale. I think it is my favourite vegetable. Have you tried putting it in the oven with olive oil and salt. It pretty much gets rid of the taste.

  33. I second the juicer comment. I also have it in the Vitamix raw with apples, Vega protein powder, and blueberries, with two teaspoons of fish oil for good measure. Sounds bad, but tastes great, and is good for you!!

  34. I really enjoyed your post especially the line, “And if someone offers me a green smoothie saying, “You’ll never guess what’s in this!” they’d best be prepared to wear it.” Because I tend to say this quite often :) Well, at least you can say you gave it a try!

  35. i hated kale too. but learning how to cook it at home which is much more affordable and taste a lot better :) if not, you can always use it as decorative greens for a flower bouquet ;)

    • If I weren’t so clumsy and averse to crafting in any form, I feel sure I could make lovely arrangements with kale. It is beautiful — to look at.

  36. HaHa! I kate Kale too, and the comment about Soylent Green made me laugh so hard I almost peed! Really great post. You just earned another follower, my friend!

    • If your blog is any indication, you’ve got some kind of writing career ahead of you. Very impressive! So glad you could stop in, but please, please take my ramblings with a grain of salt. ;)

  37. Kale is just as fine as turnip or other greens…. you do have to cut out the stalks and cook it tho… are you sure your issues weren’t from unrecognized gluten intolerance or too many potatos?

  38. I hear so much about kale! I’m curious to try it but at the same time I’m a little nervous. haha great post and congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  39. Oh kale… I have tried so many times in the spirit of being a “good” vegan to eat it. Let’s just say I am much more comfortable being a bad one and kale free.

  40. I don’t get people and this kale chip fad. I’d rather make chips out of potatos.. 100x better

  41. I loved reading this, I haven’t tried Kale but I have tried Okra and it was definitely not for me!

  42. I love kale. And this post.

  43. Haha. It’s true. Kale has this “trendy” vibe right now, and it’s pretty nasty…

  44. What an ingenious idea serving up kale FRESHLY PRESSED. Coming back for seconds…

  45. Ack! Kale is truly the devil’s work. Bitter glob of slime. Seriously, what kale eater wants to live longer if living longer means having to eat more kale?

  46. FYI–you’re not supposed to eat the stalks.

    Also, have you tried collard greens? If you think kale is bad, collards are like kale’s cousin Eddie.

  47. I like care, but I <3 collard greens!!!! Soooo much better! You must try them crispy and pan fried in a little EVOO :-)

  48. So far I’ve only found 2 ways I like it, in my juicer disguised with other juices and in my Zuppa Toscana. Otherwise, it is banned from my kitchen

  49. God bless you. I HATE kale. I didn’t even like it in the years when grocers used the stuff only as doilies.

    • It does make a nice table decoration, though. (From one Jackie Wilson lover to another)

      • I read your static pages and suspect you are too young to have been part of JW’s original audience. Please satisfy this old girl’s curiosity. Did your mom have a crush on him and play his records throughout your childhood, or did you discover him another way? And please feel free to drop by JackieWilsonLovers.com any old time.

  50. I laughed so hard I cried. I love your blog and thank you for extending my life another 10 years!

  51. I don’t particularly like kale either but it has such a wonderful green color doesn’t it? We are suppose to go green right?

  52. What I am about to say might lower my geek cred, but I got great Kale recipes from Martha Stewart. I actually really love it, especially with cheese and lemon or oranges. It’s best cooked and in small doses and thinly sliced, it mixes well with other flavors.

    FYI: love the title!

  53. Convinced that kale is as wonderful as others tout, I tried several recipes for cooking kale…but hated all of them. I finally tried eating it raw, in a salad – and kale chips – both tolerable in my opinion…AND now my 5 year old son eats it raw with NOTHING ON IT…like it’s the best thing in the world. lol. At least I accomplished that goal…still working on myself and my 3 year old daughter, who prefers to use it as a tool to scoop ranch dressing from her plate. I’m still hoping she’ll warm up to the actual greens someday. I totally feel ya though.

    • If you can get anything green into your kids, you are mother of the year in my book.

      • ;) Thanks! They treat baby spinach the same way. I do have to say, it validates my efforts in parenting to see them eat raw greens. If I have to choke some down to help them form a taste for healthy food, I’ll do what it takes. I’ll confess later…like when they have their own children. ;)

  54. This is classic lol. I used to feed kale to my brother’s desert tortoise and it was about the only thing I ever saw eat it!

  55. Yeah not a fan either. I stick to spinach…super versatile and no weird smell.

  56. I agree with what you are saying about Kale. I do love it but only every once and a while. I did have a problem with Kale chips.

  57. We were just talking about kale a few days ago and how it’s become the new superfood/food that every hipster seems to have in the fridge that they get at Whole Foods. My sister discovered earlier this year she is allergic to gluten so she has been researching fruits and vegetables and gluten-free recipe. Quinoa was one of her most recent discoveries which I tasted and I didn’t mind it too much. However I’m pretty sure I will not like kale… I didn’t even know how to correctly pronounce it until last week!

  58. You’re right. It’s bitter and course. I’m not particulary fond of Kale either, however, I have found one recipe that it actually is good in. Olive Garden’s potato sausage soup. Since Kale is so good for you, I have found that by making this soup, it’s actually a way I can enjoy eating Kale.

    The recipe is available on line. I’ve found that you can use any type of sausage, not just the one used in the recipe….and be sure to put the Kale in last when the soup is nearly done.

  59. I don’t mind kale…and my kids will even eat the kale chips.

    Here’s the best recipe I’ve found for them ->

    http://steamykitchen.com/6926-crispy-kale-recipe.html

    You’ve tried this?

    • I’m going to have to let the scars from my last attempt heal before I try any more kale dishes. When/if I do, yours will be the first recipe on my list. Thanks!

  60. I’ve never tried it! Doesn’t sound like I’m missing much though :-)

  61. This is EXACTLY how I feel about broccoli. So while I do like kale, I can understand how you feel when everyone goes on and on about how good it is and how good it is for you!

    • But broccoli comes in little trees and can be covered in cheese sauce! To each his own. You’ve got to get your greens where you can, I guess.

  62. My mom boiled the crap out of kale and I forced it down. Now I saute it with garlic, chicken strips and chicken stock. It helps.

  63. Though I will admit that I’ve recently enjoyed a marinated kale salad that was pretty damn good, I’m just useless with kale. When it miraculously wanders into my kitchen (I suspect some yoga instructor follows me around Whole Foods and tosses it into my basket when I’m not looking), I’m careful to store it in the very back of the refrigerator. You know, the section of your fridge that isn’t sure if it’s a freezer or a fridge, so that all the kale leaves harden. On Halloween, I pull it out, chop it into chunks and leave it in a jack-o-lantern shaped bowl down by the front door of our building for those kids out there who are concerned about cavities. They deserve that shit.

  64. We don’t eat kale – my family would move out. We juice it and disguise the flavour with every other vegetable on hand then add apples to make it sweet.
    PS. I can’t get behind kale chips and I’ve tried, but mine always turn out crispy with a hint of blackened edges with a taste even the dog can’t stomach.

  65. Agreed, why should eating a vegetable be such a chore. Savoy cabbage or spinach are much better. Okra royally sucks aswell.

    • It’s the slime that comes off the okra. Just too vile for words. I don’t know how people choke it down, though I’m told that in the American south they deep fat fry it, which goes a long way toward explaining the fascination.

      • Oh, and this made me buy lardons that same night, the hygienist at my dentist today found most of the remnants.

        And congrats on Freshly Pressed – you may get a kale supporter maniacally defending it. Why should angry exchanges be exclusive to politics, abortion, gay rights etc, it’s time for a heated discussion on kale.

  66. I think I believe you. Kale is soylent green. It’s just that nasty! I’ve been tempted to wear it as a necklace to ward of vampires. It would probably work better than garlic.

  67. Kale should only be used to decorate the salad bars at crappy restaurants…

  68. I don’t honestly love kale, either, but I keep giving it chances to prove its culinary worth. It does have an annoying propensity to get caught in my right incisors, though. I have some in my fridge right now and each day I gather up more courage to cook it. I prefer it softened a bit and then stir fried with garlic and olive oil. I suppose I could take vitamins instead, but hearing that it’s super food makes me feel obligated to eat it.

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