Kale Massage Therapy

The other day I got a facebook message from my San Francisco-based, uber-hip, very happening friend Nadine, extolling the virtues of kale (to which I think I can take credit for introducing her) and asking if “massaging kale is as big in Gaspe as it is in Berkeley?”

Good question, Nadine. In fact, in Gaspe, I have yet to meet someone who has heard of kale. I have been growing it for the past 3 years but I have to explain it every time, sort of like this: “It’s kale. Well, there’s no translation really. Curly cabbage… but that’s not really it. It’s kale. Like a cross between cabbage, and broccoli, and spinach…Yeah, no, the seed packet [from Quebec] just said, ‘kale’. Try it! ”

Lacinato, or Toscano, or Dino, or Black kale. Many other kinds exist, and they all look different. They all work for most every kale application.

And as I live in a  spacious yet well-insulated bell-jar, of course I had never heard of the trend – and it is very trendy – of kale massage. This is not rubbing people with kale, as I found out through a hasty internet search. This is massaging the kale leaves themselves. Although, considering the extreme nutritional value of kale, I wouldn’t be surprised if rubbing it on people would be beneficial.

Anyway, you’d think that I wouldn’t have time for all this foodista crap, what with working full-time all of a sudden, and having all those other things to do as well, that I barely managed to do while I wasn’t working at all, but everyone raved about it so much that I had to give it a go. And the kale in my garden was just calling out to me, day after day: “Holly! Poor us! we’re growing so dutifully, fending off hordes of slugs and sacrificing our lower leaves to them every night, and here we are, in all our leafy splendor, and you ignore us! Pick me! Forget the beans! Pick me!”

So, OK, I picked it! Piles of it, cause the massage (like cooking) makes it shrink. It’s kinda like making a salad and leaving it for a few hours after putting on the dressing. It gets a little fatigué – but with kale, that just makes it…edible.

The short of it is, you cut up the kale (remove the tough stem), put it in a big bowl,

drizzle a bit of olive oil on it,

squeeze a bit of lemon juice on it

sprinkle a bit of salt on it

and put on some instrumental music with water sounds….

and get yer mitts in there and squish it all up for 2 or 3 minutes.

Then, just like after a person massage, you let it rest for about 15 minutes (you can even put a fluffy, warm, white towel over it, but this is not absolutely necessary), while you prepare all the nibblies that are going to go in your amazing salad: Toasted nuts or pumpkin seeds, apples or peaches or mango, dried cranberries, grapes…

…and while you whisk up a little lemon juice with salt, pepper, and olive oil.

and when all this toasting, chopping, and whisking is done, your kale should be well-rested after its massage and ready to get dressed.

So there you go. If you’ve caught yourself staring at that big bunch of leaves in the store and wondering what the heck you’d do with all that kale, wonder no more. Cause if massaging it doesn’t turn you on, you can find fifty million other things to do with it on line. I am a bit obsessed with kale these days, but not as much as this lady, who can really help you find things to do with your kale. Seriously. Try googling “massaged kale“. Or “kale chips” (Gotcha, Frida!). Right there, you’ve got 2 ways of ingesting ridiculous amounts of vitamins, iron, and calcium.

And the only downside is that you have to check your teeth before you interact with colleagues.


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