Everyone knows kale is good for you. Add it to a smoothie and do the Bondi to Coogee walk and and you get to call yourself enlightened. Sautée it and serve with poached eggs and smoked salmon and you might be the envy of #WellnessBloggers the world over.
But kale wasn’t always a superfood, antioxidant superstar touted for its vitamin C and ORAC – that’s Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity for the #cleaneating uninitiated. Nope, it was once just a shitty garnish used to prop up ‘real’ salad and seafood at Sizzler’s buffet.
In fact, Sizzler’s beloved close cousin when it comes to all-you-can-eat chains, Pizza Hut, was the largest consumer of kale before the 2013 craze put it in our face masks and dog food.
Kale may have been farmed for over 2,000 years – it was even eaten by the ancient Greeks to sober up – but it hit its pop culture acme in 2015 when a blizzard caused a shortage in New York City. While residents were expected to shop for the recommended basics such as batteries, milk and bread, true New Yorkers ransacked Whole Foods entirely out of kale. The ransacking made CBS News, which said some tweeters were fraught with anxiety.
— Eleanor C. Whitney (@killerfemme) January 26, 2015
If the cyclic nature of history is to be believed, we could soon return to a nation of kale naysayers. Before 2013, it was merely a garnish, but according to business news site Marketplace, the leafy green was so damn popular in the Middle Ages that ‘kale’ became another word for ‘dinner’ in England and Scotland.
I’m still waiting for the great turnip resurgence, just quietly.