After the brinksmanship of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, people got to let out some nervous laughter with Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 landmark film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. It set off a little fount of cold war farce. In 1966 Alan Arkin, Carl Reiner, and Jonathan Winters tore up Russian accents and a New England town in The Russians are Coming! The Russians are Coming! It's invigorating to look at history and to see what made people laugh so hard during times of stress.
Nowadays, the exclamation "The Russians are coming!" conjures up the Russian Dressing dripping off your fork or the Russian Kale in your TakeHome box. Red Russian Kale is an heirloom variety red-veined American kale. If you are not yet in the Kale Party, relax, stop worrying, and learn to love the kale. It’s easy to cook and chock full of antioxidants that will help you become a superpower—well, it’s a super food anyway.
Kale is a cold season veggie, growing within the nip of frost. Possibly that's were it gets some of its vital minerals as it is a plant that reaches deep into the organic soil for nutrients. A diet including Kale and its cruciferous vegetable sisters is attributed to lower cancer rates. Kale contains the compound sulforaphane, which is formed when kale is chewed or chopped, and triggers the liver to produce detoxifying enzymes that protect your precious bodily fluids. Super K, ahem, Kale also has 1,327% of your RDA for Vitamin K and 192% RDA of Vitamin A.
When you cook your Kale, you may notice the red veins fade to green. If you are new to Kale, you may prefer it cooked until quite soft - don’t worry, it can take it. But it may also be eaten raw, and even macerated, in balsamic vinegar. A great job for kids is to have them rub the leaves with vinegar and a bit of salt. The mashing action "cooks" the leaves. Kale can be stored in a loose plastic bag in the fridge. Just wash and trim the stems when ready to use. Chop the stems finely or use in soup stock. Some recipes call for the “ribs” to be removed; that means the bony stems.
However you prepare it, do your part. Like General Turgidson said in Strangelove, we cannot afford to have a Russian Kale gap!
—by Heidi Lewis