A cult’s leader is nothing without its following. It seems that lately a certain leafy green has taken the population by storm and become an icon of Marin county culture. And who are the perpetuating trend setters? Why the kale industry of course, and they’ll do anything to turn this high ranking superfood into the next trendy must have.
Kale’s rise to stardom was meteoric. Before, it was a “nobody” in the vegetable section, and its name was almost always uttered with apparent apprehension. However as soon it appeared in the raw, a star was born. Kale became the “it” vegetable, and the prime target of the development of a following. The collard green was greeted with such enthusiasm that it became the starlet of every healthy recipe, and the basis for many diets.
“Kale first entered my life when I read a Whole Foods recipe that used it,” junior Amanda Barriscale said. “From that moment on, I was a changed woman. I didn’t have one meal in a day that didn’t include kale.”
This growing fad feeds the belief that kale is the godsent quick fix to any bland meal idea.
“Kale is just perfect for any healthy foods recipe,” said senior Charlotte Kaufman. “It’s great to have a vegetable out there that knows how to jive with a little bit of pesto and tomato.”
There does exist some opposition to the kale hype.
“The kale diet is like the juice diet. Unrealistic and borderline eating disorder,” said senior Anna Lipman. “But, if it works for them and they feel it fits under the category of clean eating, then let them eat cake!.. Well, you get the idea.”
However one views the leafy titan, there is no denying its apparent pull in the market. Retailers have engineered every imaginable way to make kale appealing to the birkenstock-wearing, hemp clothes-sporting masses—from probiotic kale chips to kale smoothies that eliminate free radicals.
The kale phenomenon goes beyond the simple health aspect. Omnivores utter its name with the same self-righteousness that accompanies the first week of veganism. Kale has become more than simple salad fodder but an edible accessory for those daring enough to pay five dollars a pound for the stuff.
But it’s not kale’s fault that it’s so popular. Due to its following, it has also gathered inflated titles that distract from the innumerable benefits the veggie offers. Toss it in the steamer then spruce it up with a dash of olive oil and squeeze of lemon and you’ve got baby making business.
In light of its unprecedented rise to fame, kale may very well be risking overexposure. It can’t be long before kale ice cream lines the racks at a store near you and its connotation drifts back to gross.
With its eventual fade into anonymity, kale’s popularity will surely be passed on like the toss of a hat to the next mystery collard green or arbitrary vegetable, maybe even dandelion. The food fad mill is increasingly volatile and it is your duty as the consumer to weed out the myths. ♦