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Is Kale the new super food . . . or just a modern hippie fad?


Is Kale the new super food . . .

                         or just a modern hippie fad?


I never heard of kale growing up. I’m sure God invented it back in the day, but it wasn’t something that made the cut to Betty’s table. Otherwise, it occasionally showed up as a garnish to be pushed out of the way of that steak you just ordered.

And, now, it’s supposed to be a wonderful super food.

I’m a spinach fan. I’ve not bought ice burg lettuce in decades. Literally, I can’t remember the last time . . . the 70s, maybe?

It’s strictly Romaine, arugula, or spinach around here. My favorite bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich? Bacon, spinach, and tomato.

And Duke’s mayonnaise– the world’s best, unless I’m making my own. Like– once a year.

So what’s the deal with this scrap of garnish we always tossed?

A lot, actually.

And, I’ve managed to integrate it into our diet effortlessly.

I like spinach best only one way– raw.  There are certain foods I only enjoy one particular way. There are restaurants I only take one way. Their menu may be four pages, but I always order the same thing when I’m there.

Some foods I prefer fried. Others raw. Some slow cooked. I like my bar-b-que slow roasted over real fire– that would be a fire made from wood.

I never, never, ever eat okra boiled. It makes me think of eating a slug. All slimy and stringy. Not that I’ve eaten a slug. I do eat escargot. Which is probably not too far removed, but only at a restaurant– in their cute, little shells with butter and sprinkles of crispy topping– so I don’t really see them.

There was that kitten I once had, who ate a slug and it seemed to explode in her mouth. It looked like she had a massive case of slimy, spider-web thrush. I had to hold her under the kitchen spray faucet (just briefly, ASPCA) and wash her mouth out with warm water to clear it all away. Have you ever washed out a kitten’s mouth? They are not a happy camper. I called her Slugo.

Betty and Tom eat oysters by the bushel, if given the chance. Stewed. Fried. And . . . raw. Slippery, boogers slurped on the half shell. And I can tell you, after 60 years there’s still chemistry there. I can’t even contemplate going into the thought of . . . you know, the thing    . . . they’re my parents . . . and who can imagine their parents and the thing? But, there must be something to what they say about oysters. Tom turned 88 last week. He still has that twinkle in his eye for Betty.

Spinach I mostly eat raw– as a salad or the lettuce in a sandwich. My guy, for some inexplicable reason, likes sauteed spinach– and he has a history of limited vegetables loves. But, since I do most of the cooking and I don’t like it– he doesn’t get it that way much. 

Actually, I’m lying to you. I do cook with spinach, but not where it’s the star ingredient. I’ll add it to soups, scrambled eggs, stir-fries– things like that. Raw? It can shine.

When the kids were little and thought they could survive on spaghetti every night, I’d add spinach, carrots, and liver to my sauce. The liver I sauteed, then put it all in the food processor, blended it to mush and added it all to the sauce. They never knew.

But, with all this push for kale, I decided to see what the big fuss was about. And, as I promised you, I hope we all learn something here and share with each other. 

This is freshly washed, curly leaf kale, with the stems, removed draining in my colander. Kale comes in several varieties. I did have some flat leafed kale from one of our daughters’ garden to show you, but we ate it all.


Kale 1000 x 750



I’m no scientist, the following is not from my personal testing. Rather, it’s from my personal Googling. And as Dr. Seuss said, ‘It’s 98 and three-quarter percent guaranteed.’

                                            Kale                                       Spinach

Iron                                      6%                                           5%
Fiber                                     1 gram                                     1 gram
Calories                                 negligible                                  negligible
Protein                                  1 gram                                     1 gram
Vit A                                     206%                                       56%
B6                                         9%                                          3%
Vit C                                      9%                                          1%
Vit K                                      684%                                      181%    
Folate                                     5%                                         15%
Calcium                                  9%                                          3%
Copper                                   10%                                         2%
Manganese                             26%                                        13%


To clarify this a bit: The quantity is a cup. We need roughly 35 +/- grams of fiber and 50 +/- grams of protein a day and the percents are of the RDI.

After looking at the chart, while kale edges out spinach by a tad, they’re both very good for us. So, how to incorporate kale into our diet? I often substitute it for spinach or add it alongside the spinach, removing the center spine with a knife first.

A salad of mixed lettuces will include kale. I’ve used it in scrambled eggs and when I stir fry.

It’s good in slaw– alongside the cabbage, carrots, etc. Use any good slaw recipe, chiffonade the kale and add to your mix of cabbages. The dark green you see below is the kale.



Kale slaw 1000 x 750


So simple. So easy. So lovely.

*I’ve always wanted to use that word– chiffonade. You say– shif’on-nod. It’s French for made of rags. The technique is nothing but rolling up your leafy veggie like a cigar and slicing it crosswise into thin strips. And, there goes another French word I know.


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