Eats, Food & Recipes
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Can We Please Stop Talking About Kale Now?

I’m here with a simple request: Can people who talk about kale please stop talking about kale?

Don’t get me wrong. I like kale. I buy it. I eat it. I’ve bookmarked kale juice recipes, emailed them to myself, printed them out, and then immediately hated myself for doing that. Because if my teenaged Taco-Bell-loving-self could step into a time machine and visit me now, she’d shame-slap the shit out of me for being the type of stereotypical Brooklynite who cops to juicing kale.

But at least — at LEAST —  I can safely say I’m NOT the kind of person who talks about kale. I don’t care if that sounds like reverse snobbism. Because this whole kale situation is completely and utterly out of control, and it’s time someone said something.

If you fawn and gush and coo ad nauseam over kale like it’s your twin sister’s newborn or an adorable kitten, you’re most certainly an asshole. If you steer a conversation that was nowhere near the vicinity of kale toward kale, you need to check yourself and come correct next time, or don’t come at all.

Kale is the new arugula. It’s the new Lululemon. It’s the new Tory Burch. Talking about kale is the new talking about “crowdsourcing” or “Ted Talks.” It’s the new asshole status symbol. I don’t think you’re an asshole if you eat it or buy it. You’re just an asshole if you feel compelled to tell anyone (who likely doesn’t care) about your love for kale.

That makes you an asshole.

You know these people. Or at least I do. I’m surrounded by them. Granted, I absolutely live in one of Brooklyn’s rising Kale Kapitals, Karroll Gardens (a.k.a. Kale Gardens), where folks always be trippin’ over kale. One Sunday not long ago, I walked around my block just once, and I encountered not zero (unfortunately), not two, but three different people discussing kale. It’s a kult.

I recently met a girl who was talking about how she only loves to put healthy things into her body (okay, fine, whatever) and, like, she doesn’t, like, want to be addicted to sugar, coffee or caffeine, because she’d rather be addicted to kale. She said this out loud. Soberly. On purpose. To approximately 12 people. (You know, because kale’s up there with meth, coke and gambling on the FDA and AMA’s growing list of dangerously addictive properties. Rehab clinics are so packed with kale addicts that they’re turning people away. It’s really sad, y’all. The struggle is real.)

My eyeballs almost detached themselves from their sockets from rolling them so aggressively. I then strangled her and left her for dead. Those around me who witnessed it applauded me, considered it a mercy killing, and all agreed that I put her out of her insufferable upper-class misery.

A local storefront in my neighborhood had a tote bag in the window that said “Keep Calm and Eat Kale.” I gaped at the unironic, redundant Brooklyandia mockery of the situation, then I took off my shoe, screamed “STOP PUSHING YOUR ELITIST VEGETABLE AGENDA ON ME” and smashed the window (unsuccessfully because I was wearing Converse, but the intent was there).

Trembling in the wake of my rage blackout, I then lowered my head into a 10-gallon bucket of trans fats and inhaled, as a radical act of defiance. Later that night, I tearfully and fruitlessly searched Trulia.com for cabins in the woods, because I don’t want to live in this world anymore.

Please, just let kale be one of the many green vegetables on this Earth that you can choose to eat or not eat. Stop making it “a thing.” Stop making it a veggie vehicle for smug, sunshine-y Brooklyn benevolence. It’s a vegetable, not a Volvo. Have some self-awareness with your kale.

If a friend casually brings up kale in conversation, defriend them immediately. Let’s find a Facebook filter for kale and also maybe a life filter for it. Keep buying it, keep eating it, keep juicing it, whatever. But for God’s sake, please stop talking about kale.

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Filed under: Eats, Food & Recipes

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Tamar Anitai

Tamar Anitai has one husband, two cats, no kids, no car. Midwestern by birth, New Yorker by a 14-year act of stubborn defiance. Digital content strategist for a global agency, and essayist on the occasional off night. Rap game Bea Arthur. Yes, she wants see photos of your cat. @tamaranitai on social.

28 Comments

  1. I seriously may die laughing. I couldn’t agree with this more!!! Can we add Quinoa to the list? I despise those whole grain elitists. I’m starting a movement….

  2. Amen! My nephews guinea pigs eat kale by the ton, and I have to admit that for guinea pigs they are exceptionally sleek and healthy. But they also have no conversational skills and poop all over the cage.

  3. mostly you’re right, but your tone…eeesh. did you by chance eat a bad piece of kale before writing?

    as an ex-brooklynite i’ll say in your defense, you’d think kale would be passe by now. and juicing? i thought we ditched juicers for Ninjas and Vitamixes.

  4. I had no idea that such ridiculousness was going on in the world of kale loving. This is bonkers. Thank you for enlightening. And for being so fucking funny, too.

  5. sdcal says

    Why are Americans so negative all the time? Seems your need to be contrarian is in the same light as the vegi elite trying to look smarter better then the next guy. Seems you guys are in constant need of attention. Even the whole idea of fad foods comes from a need to prove you are better then the next person. Just seems like an inferiority complex. Who cares if people like something lot. Whats the point in criticizing, or complaining about things, other than an ego driven action.

  6. In the spirit of hugging across the aisle, I have to say I really enjoyed your humor in this piece, although, let it be known: I’m a staunch defender of kale and all things raw and green (and other rainbow colors).

    Judy is the founder and editor of the 12-year-old online magazine RawFoodsNewsMagazine.com (which does have some humor pages) and is the author and/or editor of several raw vegan recipe books. She thinks turmeric (which has two “R”s) should be the new kale.

  7. I’m a poor vagabonding hippie who finds the money to buy and eat kale. I tell people about kale because I’m sick and tired of people complaining they are fat. Why can’t we simply move to talking about how fat and unhealthy people are? You know why not? We’d be assholes.

    Hey fatties!! EAT MORE KALE!

  8. Adrianna Dufay
    Adrianna says

    I would stop eating kale, but then I would have to move out of Park Slope.

  9. just discovered you Tamar…. God how I love you…. read your article on stupid things people say when they hear you’re not having children… well – I’ve been listening to it since I’m 15. Yep. I laughed my ass off! You’re a genius and hilarious and thank you for being yet another outspoken, smart, funny, and insightful woman! There can never be enough! And this kale shit makes me want to barf. I won’t even eat it. Tastes like swamp. There I said it: Kale sucks. Its a garnish, not a food. ha. Guess my addiction gene won’t be kicking in.

  10. Tasha says

    I had the unfortunate experience of being taken to a public soaking pool for my birthday. Sitting in a huge hot tub with a bunch of naked Portland hippies, I was within earshot of an INSANE conversation about the price of Kale having gone up so drastically in the past years. This conversation probably lasted 15 minutes at least –I moved myself out of earshot as to avoid punching a naked hippie lady. Also, when I was eating really healthy for like three months, I tried to make kale chips a few times and they are so gross and no one can convince me otherwise so everybody stop lie-talking about how amazing kale chips are.

  11. Sharon says

    FINALLY! I love you Susan for this post. Now, can you please also do one on quinoa? It would be easy enough, just replace the word kale for quinoa everywhere it is used and that should do the trick! (though it will mess up your klever Kale Gardens joke….) And please do not think this pride of kale eating thing is contained to Brooklyn, it is everywhere! This made me laugh out loud– THANK YOU!! 🙂

  12. Kathy Care Rose says

    toasted with sea salt – it is delicious – i had no idea and went beyond bitter garnish. Made kale crips for soup last week and also blended in stock for veg. soup. So it is a kitchen necessity and can be just like onions, and pepper. Just need to know how to cook it

  13. I have never tried kale, unless someone slipped me some when I wasn’t looking. Unfortunately my dear Brooklynites, the trend has spread (like a virus) to Ditmas Park and the Cortelyou Famer’s Market. A friend told me she had a great recipe for kale chips. I said that I preferred my chips the old fashioned way – with potatoes. Kale has joined the ranks of sea salt chocolate and cronuts – two other things I don’t need to try!

  14. Lauren Young says

    I dressed up as kale for Halloween. While distributing treats, I asked kids: Candy or Kale? And a bunch of kids asked for a kale. A small minority, but shocking, even in Brooklyn.

  15. Amy George says

    Is this the best thing I’ve read all week? Kale yes! (Also, don’t ask me what I had for lunch.)

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  17. jacki says

    This seems a tad overly aggressive & hysterical. You should probably calm down a bit & honestly, if an innocuous green veggie upsets you this much perhaps you should a) stop talking about it yourself and b) seek therapy.

  18. azzy says

    Very, very funny. You’re right. it’s a social status. That’s why there’s so much hype with eating kale, quinoa, flaxseed or chia seeds…

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