Apparently, October 2nd is National Kale day. This said, it is one of the many curiosities I have been feeding myself with this week and it's been all about kale, a green leafy bunch with promising benefits.
The quest started a couple of months ago. kale appeared out of nowhere on my Facebook feeds, on my twitter account, on cooking videos, and even during my very short attempt to juicing at home. Thankfully, we've covered juiceries on FDL and I kindly gave up all interest in being a home juicer. Something stuck, what was kale, why did they keep juicing it and why everyone seemed to believe it had magic properties?
Misleading dictionaries sent me the wrong way, I couldn't find "kale" in any mercato, supermarket, local bio store, kale was apparently nowhere to be found. So it went on, because in matters of food I usually don't give up. I brought home every single "cavolo" or cabbage I could put my hands on hoping for the holy kale. My fridge became a cabbage fest and my diet a cabbage's best friend.
What the dictionary said: "the translation for kale is cavolo riccio". Oh, internet you are so wrong. When I started verbally seeking help at the market, I thought my dream of eating this magic cabbage was about to become real. I too was going to be a kale eater. I came home and for a week looked at my cabbage deciding what to do with it, a bit intimidated. Somehow, I didn't feel it could become a drink. Something was wrong. I rang our in-house chef Rose and told her I had kale and didn't know what to do with it. While she was almost done building me a menu, still dubious to be so lucky, I sent her a picture: "Rose, is this the right kale?".
"No, actually it's Savoy Cabbage".
I am sure this scenario would never happen in New York, kale would be everywhere for me to find. This "new beef" with iron and calcium, vitamin C, K, A provider, the best anti-oxidant, the greatest alkaline super hero. The only thing that could contrast my vino nights.
Fortunately, I realized I wasn't alone. An article from the New York Times on Kristen Beddard, the girl who brought Le Kale to the French, and yes even to Chef Alain Passard, had had the same issues finding kale when she first arrived in Paris. Apparently the French dissed le kale as a forgotten légume and Kristen took on the challenge calling it Le Kale Project.
Mais comment est-ce possible? Are we Europeans not new age, vegan, healthy, juicy enough? I got in touch with Kristen and that's another story you will hear about very soon, but what is up with Italy? Did they too forget about kale?
No, kale is alive and well and it's called Cavolo Nero Toscano.
I also think I have been eating it all along, remember our story on the ribollita? One of our many Tuscan recipes? Every soup seems to have kale. All the while I had been looking for kale in yoga centers, vegan shops and markets, kale had been living in the form of Cavolo Nero Toscano in hundred years of Tuscan cuisine.
It took me hours on Google image to check this fact, but it was worth it. I might even go as far to say, watch out kale, Tuscans have known you all along.
There is a saying in Italy, "sono cavoli amari" best translated as "it's sour cabbages" and it means "you are in trouble". Lets eat and see.