Happy Humpday, loves! I’m blogging to you with a shining sun behind me. Hallelujah – it does exist! This morning, I started the day off with a workout that totally exhausted my shoulders in the very best of ways. The title, therefore, is quite fitting.
Lordy! By the time the mountain climbers rolled around, my shoulders were on fire. It was awesome, though, and got my energy levels going for a full day of class! Today was my second day of microbiology. My professor is a nut case with a heart of gold. He told us to “Be like ninjas!” in the laboratory and also told us to keep our cell phones on “in case you have a hot date!” Well, my lab partner and I certainly moved like ninjas in lab. We were the first to finish growing our own bacteria.
Mid-morning, I grabbed a gala apple and munched away while my professor lectured about protozoa and gram staining. There was also an anecdote about how he projectile vomited on the beach one year due to salmonella poisoning, which is caused by a bacteria whose name escapes me right now. Anyway, this is the apple!
Less than two hours later, my tummy was grumbling so I took out my big salad and dug in! Matty and I visited Wildflour last night and, while we were there, I picked up some of their infamous raw cauliflower tabbouleh. I tossed it into a Tupperware container with some kale, avocado, and nutritional yeast for a tasty and filling salad.
When dinner time rolled around, Matty and I decided we wanted to keep it simple. He had been craving some curried mock chicken salad , so that was exactly what we made!
This is one of those recipes we love to recycle on a monthly basis. It’s just that good! Served with a side of sweet potato fries, we had a beautiful dinner ready for eating!
The Kale Project
Last week, @thekaleproject followed me on Twitter . Naturally, I was quite intrigued and mosied over to the main page. I was so excited by what I found. The Kale Project is a movement spearheaded by Kristen Beddard, a Paris resident trying to increase the French citizens’ and restaurants’ consumption of kale!
This really spoke to me not just because of my unprecedented love for kale but also because of my love for French! I took French for five years (four in high school and one in college), and am so enamored with the language. One of my long-term goals is to actually study and become fluent in French. So, without further ado, show some love for the ambitious and wonderful Kristen Beddard!
Heather Waxman: What is The Kale Project? What is your ultimate goal? Do you have a time frame?
Kristen Beddard: The Kale Project is an initiative to bring kale to France. I moved to France from New York City, where kale is easily accessible, and every weekend, another restaurant was adding a kale dish to their menu. When we moved, I was devastated to discover that kale is not grown or sold in Paris or in France. There have been extremely sporadic sightings in Lyon or the south but nothing consistent. I found this very strange for a country so well known for cuisine and especially since kale is grown in England, Germany and Italy. The French do not know what it is and think it is something for an ornamental garden or to feed to livestock – but never eaten as part of a meal. It’s completely foreign to them. After spending a few months searching in various outdoor markets and Paris co-ops and finding nothing, I knew that I would not be able to eat kale…unless I brought it to France myself.
The premise of The Kale Project is that I find at least one organic farmer to grow kale and work with restaurants in Paris that I think would incorporate kale into their menus. I have a few ultimate goals but my most immediate goal is to find one farmer and have kale for the fall/early winter season and secure at least two or three restaurants to become partners with the project. One thing I’ve learned about France is that things do not move quickly here, so if the timing takes a bit longer, I won’t be surprised.
HW: How long have you lived in France? When did you move there and why?
KB: I’ve lived in France since August 2011. My husband had an opportunity to move to Paris for his job – he works in advertising, which is what I did in New York – and we’d just gotten married and don’t have any children, so figured why not move to a different country? Plus, my husband is from Europe so we liked the idea of being closer to his family. I’m sure it won’t be forever but we’ll probably be in France for at least five years, which is why I could not imagine going for that long without kale!
HW: What’s so special to you about kale?
KB: Kale has always been a part of life – I’ve eaten it since I started eating adult food. I was macrobiotic until I was six and then mostly vegetarian until I was 18. I did grow up drinking milk and can still hear my mom telling me, “One cup of kale has more calcium than a glass of milk.” So, aside from my mom, it is one thing that has always been a constant in my life. I knew there would always be kale for dinner. That may sound ridiculous to some people, but when I feel under the weather or a bit down, I know that a healthy meal with kale will balance out whatever is out of balance. Due to my upbringing, I feel a sense of security when eating kale. I love the simplicity of the vegetable and how clean it tastes and makes me feel!
HW:What sort of response have you received so far from The Kale Project?
KB: Considering The Kale Project has only been in existence since the end of April, I’ve had great feedback so far! I understand it’s a niche market, so I’m not expecting a lot of random people to appreciate or understand the movement. But I’ve had American and English moms in France reach out to me about how excited they are to make kale chips again with their children; and I’ve had a few French organic enthusiasts begin to follow and send words of encouragement. Plus, I had my first restaurant meeting and it went really well – so that’s giving me the motivation to keep reaching out to others.
HW:What is your favorite way to enjoy kale?
KB: I spent the first 24 years of my life eating kale lightly steamed with Umeboshi plum vinegar. And then New York went wild for the raw kale salad, so that is definitely the way I was eating it before we left the States. I just can’t get enough of raw kale. Who doesn’t love a good kale massage?
HW:Tell us something most people don’t know about you!
KB: My uncle is the founder of Lady Moon Farms and I grew up spending a lot of time on his farm in Pennsylvania – which was always very fun. Neither Lady Moon nor he are involved in The Kale Project but I still like knowing if I have any questions, I have an expert to ask!
Thanks so much for allowing me to interview you, Kristen! You are so inspiring and creative. I have a feeling kale will become commonplace for the France natives in years to come, thanks to your hard work and perseverance.