kale“If I see another kale salad, I’ll cry … I’ll kill myself.” – Amanda Cohen – vegetarian chef

Let’s not ring the death knell on kale yet. Yes, it’s everywhere and you can even get it at the – GASP! – Cheesecake Factory. It’s in salads, soups, main courses, done as chips and even made into smoothies. Walk outside and chances are you’ll trip over kale – or at least the soccer mom who is eating it.

But let’s not rain hate all over it quit yet. Kale tastes good, is good for you and has a superhero-sounding name. (Go ahead – pretend you are a super villain, drop to your knees, lift you hands to the sky and scream “KAAAALE!” at the top of your voice. Totally works, right?) It’s got everything going for it. Kale is the Bradley Cooper of the veggie world.

Kale, unlike the Kardashians, deserves all the success it has so rightfully earned. Just because it’s popular doesn’t make it stupid. Kale works hard – the Kardashians don’t. Its goal wasn’t to be on every specialty menu of every pop-up restaurant in San Francisco. That was just the outcome of its kickassedness. So let’s not deride the leafy super-power food just because everyone has grabbed their tambourines and jumped on the bandwagon.  Don’t hate on kale just because people like it more than they like you.

What makes kale so great is that it’s too diverse to be locked into just a health fad. Here’s proof: throw some bloody rare steak onto a bed of wilted kale leaves. Can’t do that with flak seed, can ya? Deep fry some leaves and make kale chips, which you can promptly dunk into some blue cheese dressing. Think fava beans can swing that? There is not a food style or food ethnicity that can’t rock with kale.  It gets along with everybody and makes everyone look good at the same time. Its ability to dance with different foods ensures that its popularity will never falter – unlike the character of Hardy Jenns in “Some Kind of Wonderful” (underrated John Hughes film – go Netflix it now).

Is there concern that kale will turn into a fad like the annoying Acai berry? Not remotely. The Acai berry was a bad seed from the start. It coped serious attitude early on and never let go.  “Ooh, look at me,” the Acai berry seemed to say. “I’m a foreign sounding fruit from an exotic location. I look really cute in oatmeal and I can cure anything.” Acai berries really got cocky. And what do they have to show for it now? Nothin’. Other than health food stores you don’t see Acai berry around much anymore. Sure you may find it at a Jamba Juice, but it’s no longer as prominently displayed. Know why?

Kale.

Look, I get the reasons for hating the sudden popularity of kale. It seemingly comes out of nowhere, everyone is cooking with it, everyone is telling you it’s good for you, everyone is saying you just have to eat it this way or that. When you get that much information chucked in your grill it’s sometimes easier to just to declare a moratorium on what’s being thrown at you. But kale deserves the hype. It has earned the right to its sudden burst of fame.

kardashians

So let’s not do that thing of building something up just to tear it down. Kale deserves better than that. There’s no reason that its popularity can’t last as long as the television run of “Soul Train.” Keep eating it, keep giving it mad props and keep giving it complicated high fives. Support kale. After all, it’s damn hard being that popular and judged by the whole world.