Did you know that 2011 was the year of kale? So said Serious Eats in their list of food trends. But then in 2012, food bible Bon Appetit said it was actually 2012. Yet the trend clearly didn’t die when in 2013, almost 300 babies were named kale. And now according to big time media outlet Buzzfeed and People Magazine, the year of kale was really 2014 – or so it seems because Beyonce wore a kale sweatshirt.
Will kale finally die out in 2015? Apparently so since 2015 is going to be the year of cauliflower. So says the NY Daily News. Then again, I heard that about 2014 from The Huffington Post. So really what is it? When will kale finally stop being eaten? When will the trend die?
In the past two and a half years of kale-centric interviews, one of the biggest questions I was asked is “So do you think the kale trend is over?” My reply was and still is always: Why Does Kale Need To Be A Trend? Why can’t people just be exposed and introduced to a vegetable and continue to eat it for the rest of their lives?
Why do we have to approach food with a coolness factor? Who cares if 2015 is the year of cauliflower? It’s not a new vegetable that needs to have a year – maybe just introduce a few more exciting ways to eat it. Who cares that Brussels sprouts are now hip because they were bred with kale and have a fancy new name of “kalette”? Why can’t we just eat food that is real or food that does not have a list of 45 ingredients?
If I learned anything from my experience with The Kale Project, aside from better French speaking skills, it is that the French don’t necessarily care as much about food trends or the fact that kale is a superfood. To them (and this of course is a generalization – there are people who are into health food in a slightly more serious way), if they follow the French diet their families and schools instilled in them, they will get the nutrients they need. They don’t need a green juice to up their intake of vitamin whatever. Vegetables are created almost equal and now chou kale is just another option. They think our American way of gravitating towards ridiculous food trends is well, ridiculous. And I tend to agree.
So instead of this year being the year of cauliflower and 2016 being the year of some other vegetable or some distant cousin of quinoa, why can’t every year just be the year of vegetables? We all know that we do not eat enough of them; so this year and next year and every year after should be the year to make an effort to eat more plants. Your plate should be a rainbow or at least as close to one as possible and different seasons create different rainbows so it always stays interesting.
So perhaps 2015 is the year of cauliflower and watercress is actually more of a superfood than kale but let’s just get over it. Eat kale. Eat collards. Eat cauliflower and watercress. And beet greens and eggplant and butternut squash. We all have personal resolutions for the upcoming year, but everyone should have the resolution every year to eat more vegetables.