Goodbye kale! Goodbye quinoa!

quinoaIf you don’t like it, don’t eat it.

If you don’t like it, don’t do it.

Those are sentiments we voice a lot around here. But we don’t always live what we preach.

Tracy might be better at this than me. She even penned a break up letter to chocolate. See Dear Chocolate, I Don’t Love You Anymore. And you know her views about road cycling.  (Not me. Not ever. Chocolate and I are besties, right after coffee. And I love riding my bike.) We’ve also worried about foods that are running out. See Saying goodbye to some of my favorite foods.

Today’s post though is about me giving up on trying to like quinoa and kale. As a friend joked, they’ll throw me out of the vegan club now for sure. (Tracy’s membership is pretty secure. First, she’s a good vegan, Me, I’m just aspiring in that direction and minimizing dairy. Tracy also loves kale. See her post about loving kale, Falling in Love with Kale, One Recipe at a Time.)

I sometimes persevere with foods, trying to like them, because I ought to. And sometimes it’s even worked. Olives and avocado, for instance, are foods I didn’t like growing up but that I love now.

But kale still tastes and feels to me like something that ought not to be eaten. Lately it’s been showing up everywhere. A perfectly innocent salad I ordered recently came with added kale. Blech. Quinoa, I kept wondering if I was cooking it right.

Now I get that some people love these foods. I don’t want to rain on your kale and quinoa parade. You do you! Enjoy!

But for me these foods have become ubiquitous. Especially as a travelling vegetarian. At the conferences I attended recently there were often special meals for the vegetarians. And it’s as if they all phoned one another, or did the same Google search. “I know. Let’s serve quinoa. It’s a complete protein. And add a side of kale. It’s trendy. Vegans love that.”

I was happy to find out that I’m not alone in my dislike of quinoa. (See Confessions of a Quinoa Hater and I hate Quinoa.) A friend is made sick by it and so lists it as a food allergy. She’s not sure that disliking something so much it makes you sick counts as an allergy but for hosting purposes, she won’t eat it so the answer is “yes.” That was another odd thing about my European conference travels, people kept asking if I was allergic to meat. Not really, I’d say, but I won’t eat it.

Oh, and I apologize if I ate kale or quinoa under your watch and claimed to enjoy it. I didn’t really. But I was trying to and engaging in the “fake it till you make it” strategy. No more.

Do you have any foods you think you ought to like, either because they’re extra healthy, extra trendy, and everyone else seems to love them? What’s your story?




12 thoughts on “Goodbye kale! Goodbye quinoa!

  1. Love this post! I also think that kale in salad is awful (it’s something about the consistency of raw kale that doesn’t do it for me). Cooked it’s ho-hum (I prefer other greens cooked, but can eat it). For me, a no-can-eat food is raw fish. I’ve been made to try over and over again, with people assuring me that if I did this or that I would start to appreciate it. I didn’t. I don’t. I won’t.

  2. Why would anyone eat raw kale?! Ick! I had quinoa for the first time in a proper quinoa soup/stew on one of the islands in the middle of Lake Titicaca. Those folks know what to do with a spot of quinoa.

  3. I love this post. I can totally see how kale and quinoa aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. I like both but not all the time and I certainly wouldn’t love to get them at every conference meal. I had that happen with grilled portobello mushrooms once. Every single veggie meal had grilled portobello mushrooms in the starring role. I honestly couldn’t eat them again for years. Yes. Literally about 8-9 years. So I hear you. And I sympathize. But food trends don’t last forever. So maybe kale and quinoa will get replaced by something you like better. Having said that, have you tried either in salads with cranberries and sunflower seeds or almonds, down chickpeas, and a cranberry vinaigrette? And what about kale chips? You don’t like those either?

    1. Kale chips but even then they’re only really a vehicle for the toppings and other flavours.

      1. I love kale chips. Mine are swoon worthy! 🙂 Seriously though, I have found the only way to eat kale in salad is to have very fresh, young shoots (baby kale!) otherwise it is very chewy. I prefer older kale in dahls because it holds up better than spinach, which, when cooked, goes unpleasantly slimy. I have tried sushi multiple times now, and I only really like the yellowtail tuna. The rest is rather meh. But I think we should stop policing what other people eat and just mind our own plates.

  4. P.s. As a vegan there are lots of foods I don’t eat. But the one thing that I never took to and that you could never get me to like was oysters. Raw or cooked…oysters just … ew! No. No. No. I can’t get past the consistency and I could never see the point. Also: liver. Yuck. And raw mushrooms.

    1. I agree wholeheartedly with the oysters and the raw mushrooms. I used to work in a children’s hospital as a university student. The cafeteria chef would make liver and onions once a month. It was delicious. I tried years later to make it myself and it was awful. Never again!

  5. Your post made me laugh! But I won’t share your philosophy with my kids! Otherwise we wouldn’t be eating anything green (possibly no vegetables) and we wouldn’t be doing all sorts of fun and fulfilling things. You’d be off the hook here anyway since you at least tried the things you say you don’t like.

  6. I just find quinoa expensive. So instead, it’s couscous. I mean come on, go to a Middleastern grocery store and you can buy sacks of this stuff. So what, it’s not a super food. I get my super food from other sources.

    The times I’ve had kale I have not been impressed. I’ve had it raw and find it “tough”/too chewy for a leafy green. It puzzled me, so I gave up.

    Already I eat (cooked) greens that a lot of people in North America don’t normally eat often: Chinese mustard greens, gai lan, sui choy, bok choy, shanghai choy, etc. This is part of my childhood influence carried over into adulthood. So do I really need kale??

    If you like kale, great go for it. It’s too much effort for me to find different recipes and cook it down.

    What I found amusing and strange, was the short craze for goji berries. I didn’t get it. My mother used them in Chinese herbal consomme soups. I have to say the marketers in North America were very clever about goji berries.

    If a person had a fairly unhealthy diet that wasn’t helping them at all, then adding certain healthy foods for more balance is helpful. It should be approached in this way and as long as you can enjoy eating it.

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