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Death by Kale

Before I begin my tale of murder and mayhem in South Arlington, let me give you the back story, or the “mitigating circumstances” as a clever attorney might say. My father was a good provider. We never wanted for a thing and enjoyed several carefully-doled-out luxuries. But both my parents were Frugal (capitol intended.) For example, they always drove nice cars, but never new ones. Remember the phrase “Republican cloth coat”? My mother to a tee.

The woman never owned a clothes dryer, microwave or disposal. In fact, the last two didn’t exist in my youth, as far as we knew. However, I DO remember a commercial on Ozzie and Harriet, touting this marvelous new appliance called an “Insinkerator,” designed to make garbage magically disappear. In adulthood, I had gladly embraced a garbage-free life many years before.

Then, I heard about this marvelous new vegetable from my vegan friend and darned near every magazine recipe out there: kale. So I decided it was time for my husband and me to “get healthy.” No matter that we were in our seventh decade. It’s never too late, right?

When I bought my first bunch at Safeway, I didn’t realize how FAR it would stretch in those recipes. First I tried a Kale Salad which nearly choked us to death, tickling our throats on the way down. Next, I tried cooking it in a casserole and got jaw-tiring results. Finally a little of it worked in soups, since it tolerated lengthy cooking. But I was still left with enough of the green stuff to feed the Third Army.

So my kale buddy and I were no longer pals and it was time for it to shake hands with the disposal. I stuck the unbroken stems into the appliance’s gaping mouth and flipped the switch, ready to cover my ears, avoiding little green screams. Instead I heard crunching and finally a hum, showing who was boss in the kale department. But then, the water started backing up into the sink.

Time for reinforcements. “Jerry, there’s something stuck in the garbage disposal. It won’t drain.” After taking the drain apart and digging to China, my mate still couldn’t get the drain unclogged. I had committed “kale-acide” and murdered the dispoal at the same time, my burden to live with forever. We contacted our landlady, who couldn’t have been nicer. (I have a feeling she didn’t like the spiky stuff any more than I did.) My husband explained, via email, that since it was MY felony, we would pay for whatever it took to get the system working again, which ended up being an "industrial" tool for digging out the drain system.

Thus ends my tale. I notice every bunch of kale shrinks from view when this Old School body approaches. Probably just as well.


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