Like so many others, I’ve always wondered what the deal is with kale.
It doesn’t taste good, it doesn’t look good, and it reminds me far too much of a plant you’d probably find at the bottom of the ocean floor than to find it appetising enough for my morning smoothie.
But of course, trends never actually cater to things that are convenient. In fact, the trendiest of items are always the most inconvenient. How else can you explain the rise of frozen bananas in place of ice cream (disclaimer: frozen banana isn’t ice cream) or cacao in the place of chocolate?
Then there are the pint-sized milk crates in the place of chairs at your local cafe. None of this stuff was designed for user experience. But we are blind conformists, so we blindly follow.
But now Dan Nosowitz, writer for The Awl, has blown society’s kale-obsessed facade open, writing that we should be ditching kale and revisiting our old and loyal friend in spinach.
Writing for the website’s column Crop Chef, Nosowitz argues our love of kale has no basis and adds little to our favourite dishes, despite making us feel much trendier than we otherwise would.
“Eating spinach is something your parents would do. Eating kale — stringy, bitter, aggressive kale — is the mark of an adventurous, flavour-forward connoisseur,” he writes.
“Dishes do not usually become better or even more interesting when a trendy ingredient or process is foisted onto them. They almost always become worse.”
With this in mind, it’s as if kale has been able to employ the world’s most efficient PR team in history, turning a bland, green, everyday plant into a global phenomenal that has had a meteoric rise. So meteoric, in fact, that in the US alone kale production increased by nearly 60 per cent between 2007 and 2012, according to their Department of Agriculture.
If that’s not enough for you, US Weekly even dedicated a feature to the green in 2014, aptly titled “Stars Who Love Kale.”