Deze week zijn trendy- en vergeten groenten aan de beurt. YFMer Hannah Fuellenkemper schrijft over voedsel, heeft haar eigen blog en organiseert de sit-down supper club.
I should’ve known when my dad started bringing home cavolo nero. I remember it to be a tricky period at home, with mom trying her best to come across as encouraging and definitely not patronising in pointing out that we had it growing in the garden, always have. And when, as it did most nights, it went by the name of ‘kale’, he’d refused to eat it. His sudden appreciation was most likely inspired by what he’d read in the papers, which will have reported on this super food’s super powers only once the magazines had revealed that sport stars everywhere were proving they were just like us by roasting it as ‘chips’ for a snack, that models were proving they were certainly not like us by eating it raw in salads, and everyone in between (those not comfortable eating kale for breakfast) was blending it with fruit to mask the taste. Kale had reached its peak. And then McDonalds said it’d be introducing kale to its menus and the world moved on.
Last year the big deal thing (and I mean officially. Click for Google trends data for the US) was the re-discovery of the avocado. Remember when eating an avocado on some bread was just that? Just you eating an avocado on some bread and — oh ok then — maybe some salt and pepper? Well, in 2015 this turned into something the world started discussing (and taking pictures of) like it was notable.
Back to the 80’s
But let us not be too misty eyed as we look to the past, to the Good Old Days when a vegetable was just a vegetable, not something to forget or hype. For it could only have been a chef in the 80s that we have to thank (not) for the pairing of beetroot and goats cheese. Likewise it can only have been a chef in the same period that ordained the rampant (so any number more than one) use of sun-dried tomatoes (yes, I know, tomatoes are technically a fruit). And then of course there was all the arugula of the 90s (went well with sun-dried tomatoes) and that time we convinced ourselves that if we baked portobello mushrooms in sticks of butter, they tasted a bit like steak — a golden moment in history right before people not only started buying heirloom carrots (the purple and yellow long ones nicely contrasted with the stubby ones), but made a fuss about doing so. And there we have it. Our whistle-stop tour through the hyped vegetables of the last two decades has brought us right back up to kale. Enter Ottolenghi. But then it’s arguable that Ottolenghi should have an all era to himself.
So what’s next?
Big bets go on cabbage. Once everyone’s finally had enough kimchi and sauerkraut, people will start treating it as meat and look for any excuse to grill it, marinate and roast it whole while rejoicing in saying things like, ‘I’ve always loved cabbage. It’s such a humble vegetable’. It’s cheap, nutritional and it’ll last for weeks (though personal experience says months) in the fridge, patiently waiting for you to get through all your fractal-covered futuristic cauliflower from Mars (i.e. Romanesco, also in the brassica family) before it loses its colour. Likewise I’d place a few on cabbage’s cousin, the kohlrabi (German for turnip cabbage), another member of the brassica family that I predict will make people suddenly remember their long-lost love of vegetables that look like they’ve been hurled in from outer space or at least ones that remind you of your oma making soup. Yes, the kohlrabi’s tentacles and celeriac’s barnacles (celeriac is related to celery but grown for its root) will inspire all kinds of preparations that don’t involve soup (again, with a nod to Ottolenghi) and the gentle glow (both when purchasing and preparing) of a pioneer. Of going where no grandmother has gone before.
// Tekst: Hannah Fuellenkemper
// YFM nodigt bloggers uit om hun mening te delen op onze website. Dit artikel is de persoonlijke mening van de schrijver. Wil je reageren? Dat kan onder de Facebook post die bij deze blog hoort!