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Dear Kale

A breakup letter to America's favorite salad green.

By Troy Johnson

Dear Kale.

I think it’s time we took a break. I want to see other greens.

Here’s the thing. I really like you. Or, liked you. It’s complicated. Like chewing you is.

I made the mistake of going public with my love for you. Now every place I go, you’re there. “Hi! This is me as a salad! Me as a juice! Me braised! Me as a baby!” That’s what stalkers do.

You don’t text, because you’re a salad green. That’s a relief. I don’t think my unlimited data plan is that unlimited. A friend of mine says showboating usually speaks to some unresolved spinach issues.

How do I explain what’s happened to my hot kale lust? Remember the Black Eyed Peas? They were an underground hip-hop band who partnered with an attractive, athletic pop singer named Fergie. Then they exploded. They were everybody’s everything. Biggest band in the world. Four out of five dentists may choose Crest, but all those party guys chose the Black Eyed Peas.

The Peas worked really, really hard. They didn’t turn any gig down. Awards show? They headlined. Target commercial? Peas were game. Samsung jingle? That, too. New Apple, Bacardi, Best Buy or Dr. Pepper theme song? And those. You’d go to a bat mitzvah and there was Fergie, lady lumping all over the gefilte fish. It wasn’t hygienic.

It got to the point where if you aimed a camera toward any horizon—like a cornfield or the ocean—the Black Eyed Peas would eventually come into frame and try to perform in it. People started to question their love of Peas. Over-exposure drove us to that dark place where lady lump fatigue lives.

So I guess that’s it. I’m suffering from kale exhaustion. You need to turn down a few gigs. Throw some freelance to Swiss chard. Give sorrel a chance. I don’t want to think about what’s happened to spinach during kale mania. Probably huddled under a sneeze guard somewhere, resenting grandfolk.

Right now your fame is your cancer. Eating you apparently cures cancer, so you might try that. Point is, everything I once loved about you is being ruined by the fact that you’re always in my grill.

For instance, you look prehistoric and rather badass. Or do you just look like chard with warts? And the fact that you’re hard to chew. That’s cool. Everyone likes a challenge. Spinach is like eating smooth jazz, both easy and breezy. Eating you is like gnawing on tin foil made of lizard hide. Taking down an entire kale salad is like an awesome physical test I didn’t fail because mom forgot to pack my inhaler.

But the more time we spend together, I’ve started to wonder: Am I really chewing you, or are you slowly filing my teeth into Chiclets? Am I swallowing you, or are you just hiding between my gums—only to reappear as a full salad when I floss?

I’m going to call arugula now. Thanks for the six-pack jaw.



Dear Kale

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