When Did Kale Get A Publicist?

One writer explores the "trendiest" food of the moment

by Linda Yellin
kale wit sunglasses image
Photograph: Tamara Shopsin and Jason Fulford

The other day I went out to buy potato chips. This is not something I’m proud of, but it happens. What stopped me in my tracksuit was tripping over a big display of kale chips. And not just plain old kale chips, but chips in flavors like Bombay curry, zesty nacho and a scary-sounding one called mango habanero.

What the kale is going on? Wasn’t kale that leafy green vegetable that nobody ate because it’s hard to wash and tastes like rubber? I paused in the produce section to ask myself, Where do these trendy foods come from? One day we’re happy with iceberg lettuce, the next we’re ordering field greens. My caramel is salted; my water is smart; my milk is milk free. And just who started pulling all the pork?

I asked a woman who was loading up on goji berries how they tasted.

“Like cranberries but not as good,” she said.

“So why do you buy them?”

“Dr. Oz recommends them.”

Who can argue with that? I bought some, too, while ignoring the açaí berries. They are so last year.

In the dairy aisle, I commiserated with another woman as the two of us pondered the yogurt options. Greek this. Greek that. Strained. Thick. Probiotics.

“It’s harder than buying a bra,” the woman said.

These hot items from the food world don’t just show up on the grocery shelf; they explode into our lives. Suddenly, it’s kale in your face 24/7. Good-bye, olive oil. Hello, coconut oil. Me? I’m still mourning orange roughy. There was a time you couldn’t open a menu without an orange roughy special. But somewhere along the way, wild salmon kicked its ass.

I want to keep up with all these trends. Apparently, they can make me younger, healthier and smarter and remove my oxidants. But I’m exhausted. It was much easier when I was a kid. My mother slapped down a plate of meatloaf and said, “Eat it.” No questions asked.

On my way out of the grocery store, I passed a lonely iceberg lettuce. I patted it on its head. Then I bought some potato chips. 

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First published in the December 2013/January 2014 issue of More.

Share Your Thoughts!


Linda Conti02.04.2014

Linda - I loved your article! It was clever and funny; I've shared it with many friends. Having recently added kale to my own juicer combinations, I had to laugh!

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