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The Impious Lies Of Whole Foods

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Look at that, would you! I shot that in my local Whole Foods last night. How dare they claim that kale is being displaced by the lowly collard! You know what’s the new kale? Kale. And don’t you forget it. [2]

Whole Foods is also now claiming that it’s possible to make greens tasty without bacon. More lies! This denigration of bacon is a sure sign that we are in the Late Roman Empire.

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27 Comments To "The Impious Lies Of Whole Foods"

#1 Comment By JonF On December 28, 2013 @ 10:47 pm

You have a Whole Foods in St Francisville? I thought they were only found in yuppie areas of big cities and maybe some trendy suburbs.

[NFR: No, sorry, it’s in Baton Rouge. But I shop there because we’re in BR at least twice a week for classes and stuff with the kids. — RD]

#2 Comment By JamesP On December 28, 2013 @ 10:49 pm

Tasty greens without bacon?!? Fine, then salt pork it is.

Truly, though, I’ve greatly enjoyed greens sauteed just enough in a broth of ginger, soy sauce and white pepper.

#3 Comment By Leslie Fain On December 28, 2013 @ 11:00 pm

Rod, I’m with you on the bacon part, but collards are Southern. There is a long,rich history of Southerners eating collards, not kale. I can’t believe you’ve turned your back on your Southern roots like this.

[NFR: I like collards okay, but they are certainly my least favorite of the greens. So coarse-tasting and strong! Kale is my favorite, followed by turnip greens, then mustard. I’ll eat collards if there’s nothing else, but I never buy them. — RD]

#4 Comment By David J. White On December 28, 2013 @ 11:36 pm

Greens are one of those Southern things, aren’t they?

Growing up in Ohio, I think I might have been in graduate school before I realized that spinach came any way other than in a can. (Hey, if spinach from a can was good enough for Popeye … !)

I love bacon, but one of the hardest things to get used to in Texas is the constant use of bacon as a condiment in so many things. I don’t eat meat on Fridays, and I remember one occasion when I went to the campus dining hall for lunch on a Friday and I couldn’t even eat the macaroni and cheese because there was bacon in it.

#5 Comment By philosopher On December 28, 2013 @ 11:49 pm

It doesn’t _have_ to be bacon, as one can make fine use of other parts of the pig. But pig is the sine qua non here, for sure.

#6 Comment By cermak_rd On December 29, 2013 @ 12:10 am

huh, I’m not a big fan of collards, I prefer mustard greens, but a little olive oil and some pine nuts and a lot of pepper can make them perfectly decent without bacon.

I try to keep kosher (operative word…try, I really like bacon and ribs and crown roast…) so bacon is a rare treat for me.

#7 Comment By Analyst On December 29, 2013 @ 12:22 am

Instead of bacon, which I agree is supreme, you should try the Lars Crispy Onions. They are wonderful on salad, in omelets, and in many other dishes. Our Whole Foods stocks this product in abundance. If you do not have it, do insist on having your store stoke the onions.

[NFR: In truth, good extra virgin olive oil and fresh-squeezed lemon juice are excellent on chopped kale. I’m just making a bacon joke because we’re coming to the tail end of the Nativity fast and I want BACON. — RD]

#8 Comment By Darth Thulhu On December 29, 2013 @ 1:14 am

Mmmmm. Bacon. Bacon-y bacon. With bacon bits.

#9 Comment By Turmarion On December 29, 2013 @ 1:31 am

In Appalachia, mustard and turnip greens are commoner–you don’t see collards very often. I grew up being a huge fan of spinach, actually (still am). However, in the early 90’s I taught in a Job Corps. The lunch food they served was in general about like any school lunch; however, their collards were sublime. I don’t get a chance to eat them much; but if they’re done right, I’d put them up there with anything.

The various other greens are OK, though overall I’m not a greens fan. Poke greens (also known as poke sallet–not “salad”, but “sallet” are usually gathered wild, and it’s a pain to cook them (they contain freaky alkaloids that need to be removed). Nevertheless, they’re not bad (though they make the tongue tingle!). Have you ever had poke, Rod? Anyway, I’ve had some good soups with kale, and it can be good; but I’m not a huge fan. Sorry!

[NFR: I don’t think we have poke down here. I’ve never eaten it, and never heard of anybody around here eating it. — RD]

#10 Comment By Scott On December 29, 2013 @ 1:57 am

Kale shmell Collards don’t have to overtake kale because they never were dethroned. And don’t you dare get any olive oil near my collards. It’s salted pork fat back, add a smoked turkey leg if you want to get exotic. Boil them down till their good and tender. not mushy but certainly not al dente. i like them whole leaf with a good shot of hot pepper vinegar. If you’ve been living right you might get some young tender stems in the mix. of course, do not pull them from your garden till they’ve been kissed by the frost. And if you want to go all Eastern North Carolina, you have to try collard kraut. Do yourself a favor: if you’re ever in Eastern North Carolina visit the Chef and the Farmer Restaurant in Kinston. If you come on down to the Cape Fear Coast where I live, you can try some Stump Sound oysters and shrimp and grits. Meanwhile, you might have seen the Chef in the Chef and Farmer on PBS. Here’s her collard episode.
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#11 Comment By Scott On December 29, 2013 @ 2:00 am

Here’s where you can watch A Chef’s Life Episodes for free
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#12 Comment By Scott On December 29, 2013 @ 2:04 am

The collard episode (sorry for the extra posts. Long night at work. Just got home).
Rod: Vivian is a classic came-back-to-the-small-town story. From NYC to Kinston, NC.
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#13 Comment By Tom S. On December 29, 2013 @ 11:36 am

Chiffonade collards, sauté them with chestnuts and a little maple sugar.

#14 Comment By Tom S. On December 29, 2013 @ 11:37 am

Or stew ’em with a ham bone.

#15 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On December 29, 2013 @ 2:07 pm

Old is the new new. Or new is the new old. Or whatever. I don’t much care about kale or collard, but I despise new news, whatever the category. Not to be confused with gnus, who are entirely innocent of the proclivities of modern American culture.

#16 Comment By Alex On December 29, 2013 @ 5:01 pm

This is the reason I keep reading this blog! Preach it, brother!!!

#17 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On December 29, 2013 @ 7:25 pm

Turmarion, I once saw a labeled CAN of “Poke Sally” (that’s how they spelled it). I once heard a song on the radio about “Poke Sally Annie.” And I’ve seen wild poke growing in West Virginia, identifiable by the berry, but precious little greens growing on it at the time. Isn’t ramps really where its at in WV?

#18 Comment By M_Young On December 29, 2013 @ 9:02 pm

Beet tops are great sauteed with a little garlic and salt. Plus they make you pee red!

#19 Comment By MikeCA On December 29, 2013 @ 11:01 pm

Now you know I’m a fellow kale lover due to the weird kale things I’ve emailed you but I’ve recently discovered “sweet” or young collards and they are plenty tasty, much tastier than the regular ones. I just made a soup with them the other evening,a version of the West African groundnut (aka peanut) stew. Quite good. I’ve also sautéed them with olive oil & garlic and added them to some whole wheat orzo with fresh ricotta. Again,surprisingly good. Kale will always reign supreme but a little collard action from time to time makes for a nice change.

#20 Comment By scotch meg On December 29, 2013 @ 11:02 pm

Kale is unbelievably tasty raw in a salad, if it is salted. A bowlful of chopped kale plus one teaspoon of salt, massaged in for two minutes. For my money, add 1/2 red onion chopped, one tart apple, chopped with the peel on, 1/2 C nuts. Then add 1/2 C oil and 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar and toss. Finally, add 1/2 C feta cheese and toss again.

Even my veggie-averse 13 yo son eats this eagerly.

Kale all the way. If cooked, with bacon. If raw, as above.

[NFR: Favorite way to eat kale: chopped into almost a julienne, then dressed with fresh-squeezed lemon juice, olive oil, and sea salt. Simple as it can be, and terrific. — RD]

#21 Comment By Liam On December 30, 2013 @ 8:35 am

Funny, I am a supertaster, and I find collards fairly mild (I detest mustardy/bitter greens), almost sweet. The texture is meaty. Love them. They don’t HAVE to be cooked for a long time (most people appear unaware of this), but they tolerate long slow braises well. And they are a helluva lot easier to trim and clean than kale. And now often cheaper due to the increased demand for kale.

Here’s another thing: coming as I did from a German-American family with familiarity with kale, kale needs to go through a freeze before being eaten in order to get its best flavor profile (its bitter flavanoids are moderated by freezing before harvesting). Kale is best as a cold-climate crop.

#22 Comment By mrscracker On December 30, 2013 @ 10:24 am

Maybe I can email you a photo of the collard greens I’m growing. They’re beautiful & we eat them for good luck on New Year’s Day, (along with black eyed peas.)Our’s have gone through a couple frosts & are extra sweet.Smoked hogmeat, especially neckbones, are best cooked with them & pepper sauce side on the side.
I used to pick & eat lots of poke sallet.It grows in disturbed areas like old hog pens & empty lots.Only the young shoots are edible & even then you need to parboil & throw away the water 2-3 times to get rid of the toxins & funky taste.After that, it’s delicious, kind of like asparagus.I heard the last place to commercially can poke sallet went out of business.
The root is quite poisonous & is used in cancer treatment.My son once had some pokeroot derived medication applied to his tonsils to shrink them. So it’s powerful stuff for sure & you need to be cautious.The berries have a bright purple color & my kids used to use them for “war paint” when they played outside.

#23 Comment By Turmarion On December 30, 2013 @ 11:12 am

Siarlys, poke grows by highway ramps, in abandoned fields, and along fences. The property lot adjacent to our backyard is undeveloped, so poke grows in it and along our fence in profusion. You have to get the large leaves when they’re relatively small and tender, otherwise, as you say, the plant grows tall with the distinctive purple berries, and the leaves tend to slough off.

You basically boil the greens in two changes of water (although my mother’s family did one change and then scrambled eggs into them) in order to remove some strong alkaloids that would make you ill otherwise. There’s still a tiny amount left, and as I said, it can make your tongue tingle.

Basically, it’s the last-ditch food of poor, Depression-era people. You don’t even cultivate it–it’s essentially a more or less edible weed. The Great Depression generation developed a taste for it, though, and in some areas that’s been passed down. It’s not my favorite green, but it’s not bad if cooked right.

#24 Comment By Al-Dhariyat On December 30, 2013 @ 11:28 am

Whole Foods is also now claiming that it’s possible to make greens tasty without bacon. More lies! This denigration of bacon is a sure sign that we are in the Late Roman Empire.

So naive. Let me connect the dots for you, dear Christian friend. Bacon is pork. Muslims don’t eat pork. (Well, most don’t eat). Thus, Whole Food is a bought and paid for subsidiary of Wahabbi Saudi Arabia. See whom you patronize!

First they came for the bacon and I was silent for I had salted pork…

#25 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On December 30, 2013 @ 4:46 pm

Thank you Turmarion. I’m left uncertain whether there was a miscommunication about ramps, or whether you just didn’t get around to that. Poke may well grow around highway ramps (I saw it next to a cow shed in the hills above Meadow Bridge), but I wasn’t talking about highway ramps being where poke is at. I was talking about ramps (also not cultivated — the cross between onion and garlic, intensified) being “where its at” in the culinary sense. Just didn’t want to leave that hanging with a sense of uncertainty.

#26 Comment By Turmarion On December 31, 2013 @ 12:46 am

Siarlys, I must admit that I thought you did mean highway ramps! Mea ignorantia et maxima culpa!

#27 Comment By mrscracker On December 31, 2013 @ 9:19 am

Siarlys Jenkins ,
A friend brought us some ramps years ago & I thought they were very mild & delicious.We served them up with scrambled eggs.
I think they’re a type of wild leek or at least in that same family.The stinky part is after you eat them.The smell seems to come out of your pores.I tried to grow some, but in the South they don’t do well outside high elevations.
A newspaper in West VA once put ramp juice in the printing ink:
“In his mischievous moments, Mr. Comstock once printed one of his newspapers using ink mixed to incorporate the smell of ramp, the wild garlic that abounds in the spring around Richwood. The effect on the air quality of the post office prompted the postmaster to make him promise never to do it again.”
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