Waiting to Ex-Kale

Kale chips? Are you freakin' kidding me? 

Summer’s almost over. Among other things this means the offerings from our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm are winding down. It’s just a matter of weeks until late tomatoes, zucchini, cabbage, and onions give way to potatoes and squash. After that, it’s winter pickup time–sometime around mid November we can swing by for some winter keeping foods such as beets, turnips, potatoes, tear-inducing onions, and giant blue squash that can be hollowed and rented out as student apartments.

There is one silver lining in the bitter drama we New Englanders call “winter;” its impending arrival means it’s at least six months before we have to pretend we’re interested in kale. I want to go on record as saying that kale is to green vegetables what carob is to pod foods–a non-edible weed posing as nutrition. Let’s be honest–human beings are carnivorous mammals that occasionally devour plants. But we are not meant to consume kale or Swiss chard, sorrel, or other such horror stalks. These are the kinds of substances, which, if Rover ingested them, you’d take him to the vet to see if he’ll survive.

Spare me all sure-fire recipes for scrumptious kale. You might as well tell me you’ve discovered Noah’s Ark intact in downtown Atlantis. I’ve boiled kale, sautéed it, steamed it, added it to soups, seasoned it with herbs, and nailed it to the doorframe to ward off zombies. I’ve eaten kale chips, as if somehow these were a substitute for Cap Codders. I’ve tried recipes from every source from Bon Appétit to Worm and Grub Weekly. Thus far I have found a single good use for kale and its ilk–they make excellent compost, which is where they end up every week. I want to tell my CSA–don’t grow this crap; harvest something we actually want, like cheeseburgers.

I have found only one leaf plant that’s choke-downable: collards. I attribute that to African Americans, who brought their Southern foodways with them during the Great Migration. Give me some pork barbecue, some cornbread, thirteen side dishes, and a plop of collards soaked in vinegar and I’m okay with that. Of course, barbecue is a food no kale-o-holic would ever dream of eating. They like to tell me how good kale is for me. Yeah, so are periodic colonoscopies, but you don’t see anyone growing them in fields, do you? Who wants to live forever if it means eating stuff that induces suicidal thoughts?

The leaves are turning and soon the snow fill fly. I will grumble as I shovel my driveway, but I will gaze out at the frozen fields and smile when I think of all the dead kale buried in their white tombs.

No comments: