So yesterday I went out for lunch at a Mexican place in a strip mall. The kind with combo plates, you know? Like 1 burrito, 1 enchilada,1 taco with rice and beans, and the sodas come in big red nubbled transluscent plastic cups and they stealth calorie you to death with an endless chip basket. You have been to this place or its clone, I am sure.
The food is inexpensive and good, but NOT innovative or surprising in any way. You know the guacamole will come in a little fried corn basket made to look full via a tired slice of tomato and some shredded iceberg. A place like this cannot, by ANY stretch of the imagination, be described as HIP or HAPPENING or NOW or ON TREND. It’s just lunch.
So when I tell you that the lunch special was a Kale Quesadilla, you know instantly that kale is officially over. It’s like 2002, when the PTA president came to gardening club in a toe ring, and suddenly you realized toe-rings were mom-tastic. Only people with minivans really sport them now.
Kale is like that. It has reached maximum cultural saturation and will now begin to disappear from high end restaurants and fancy-pants grocery stores, cool-trickle-down will happen in reverse, and in a few years, kale will be as a leafy-green fever dream that happened in the early parts of the 2000’s.
Upside: You can now eat it all you want without looking like you are trying for The Food Cools. Yes, my fellow dorks and other brands of regular humans, it is open season on kale for non-hipsters.
Upside two: The other day at the YMCA farmer’s market, where I was buying, yes, KALE—-
DIGRESSION: I needed it to make this truly awesome crustless quiche thing with ricotta and artichokes from Kalyn’s Kitchen. Two thumbs up, will make again. END DIGRESSION.
—-I ran into a hipster who had not gotten the KALE IS OVER memo, and she cornered me by the kale basket and smugtured* for a good four minutes about how kale requires one to MASSAGE THE LEAVES to release the OILS and TAME THE BITTERNESS, and as she smugtured, she proceeded to rumple at the leaves of my kale in this creepy way that was both condescending and WEIRDLY SEXUAL, so that as soon as she looked away I swapped out my defiled kale for an unmassaged bunch from the kale basket. I NEVER WANT TO SEE THAT AGAIN, and if Kale is over, then I likely will not.
Downside: I really LIKE Kale. It is very delicious to me. But at the strip mall lunch place, I could not escape the knowledge that in six months, Wendy’s will have a Kale Burger, and by 2018, you won’t be able to find it anywhere except The Rainbow Food Collective for Hippies Who Don’t Care About Trends and Just Want to Eat Things That Are Vegan and Macrobiotic.
Kale is going the way of prosciutto wrapped figs. Remember 1994, when you couldn’t STEP into a restaurant without tripping on a prosciutto wrapped fig? And now you can’t find a prosciutto wrapped fig ANYWHERE. Or – I am trying to think of more food trends, but they slip out of the culture and I forget.
I REALLY should have a 90’s food trend pot luck, to remember the hip foods of yore… HELP ME THINK OF SOME! What used to be THE eating thing, and now it is gone, baby gone?
*Smugtured = Smug + Lecture.