An Elixir for Retirement

“The key is getting proper kale,” she continued. “You want Portuguese kale.”

Mom, we’ve been over this a thousand times; there is no such thing as Portuguese kale. Stores carry curly kale, purple kale and Italian kale.”

Mother is exceedingly proud of her Portuguese heritage, even though no one in our family has ever set foot on Portuguese soil. “The Italians stole kale from us!”

She says the same thing about pasta, olive oil and wine. As far as Mom is concerned the Roman Empire never existed and it was the Portuguese who disseminated these edible treasures throughout the Mediterranean world.

My mind wandered as Mom chanted her recipe for kale soup. I was rolling my eyes by the time she finished and we hung up.

Not long after this conversation I took my wife to the grand opening of a fancy new restaurant downtown. The chef was celebrated for using fresh local ingredients and enjoyed a sterling reputation. When asked, the waitress announced that the soup of the day was, you guessed it—kale—nearly fifteen dollars a bowl. I decided on a salad but my wife chose the soup, insisting I try it. After nearly sixty years of avoiding the stuff I slid a spoonful of kale soup between my lips. I didn’t want to like it, but damn if the soup wasn’t delicious.

I felt miserable as all those healthy proteins and vitamins coursed through my system. Mother was right. Of course she was; she’d been eating this stuff for eighty-eight years. I reluctantly decided to add kale to my diet, but no way in hell was I ever going to admit it to my mother.

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  1. My husband makes a “smoothie” every morning for our breakfast. It has kale, celery, red peppers, banana,apple & whatever else we have on hand. No fat–& it’s REALLY good!!

  2. I have to admit I side with your mom on this one- kale is one healthy food. I even make it into baked chip type things. Good for you for trying it and liking it!

  3. Tom Sightings

    July 25, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    Kale is a fantastic leafy vegetable, and provides the perfect excuse for … dessert.

  4. Daniel LaFrance

    July 25, 2013 at 5:19 pm

    Mother knows best. 🙂

    Wonderful story, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  5. Don’t worry, my lips are sealed. And kale leaves, lightly seasoned and dried at a very low temperature are better than potato chips!

  6. Don’t you hate it when they’re right??? I’ve never tried kale but I saw a recipe in the paper for a kale “smoothie” yesterday. I might have to revisit it! Great post!

  7. At the risk of showing my ignorance, I’d never heard of kale. As someone taking early retirement in September, and after hearing the raft of nutrients it contains, I will have to start eating it.

  8. I’ve never had kale, but that picture makes it look palatable. Perhaps it could be slipped into hot & sour soup, or chopped and added to spaghetti sauce, or meat loaf. Then nobody would know how healthy they’re getting.

  9. I’m not sure what kale is, but if it’s good for me, chances are I’ll hate it, too! 🙂

  10. I can’t say that I’ve ever tried kale.. but now I just might.

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