“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.