kale salad with pears and toasted walnuts

Is it just me, or has the world gone crazy? What else would have possessed me to 1) take my own photo when I have a perfectly good JM, and 2) use a vertical orientation at that? Oh yeah, and what am I doing at home when I could be Occupying something?

I’m eating lunch, that’s what I’m doing. I’m eating kale and pears and grapefruit from the supermarket, olive oil and cheese and walnuts from Trader Joe’s, and a whole lotta crow — because, really, how can I justify supporting the recent anti-corporate protests with a mouth full of corporate food?

Of course, I can’t justify it — and shouldn’t. I’m lucky enough to live in a city where farmers markets are plentiful, where access to sustainable dairy is pretty straightforward, and where most of the food I need for a balanced diet can come from within 100 miles. So if I’m still trying to stretch my meager little dollar by cutting corners with the help of agribusiness, imagine the predicament of people who live somewhere else and have even less money than I do!

You are probably waiting for me to stop being so preachy and start being funny, aren’t you? All right, you have a point. I’m no expert — I’m just a home cook doing her best to cook, eat, and joke ethically. If you want to read more about the shared concerns of the food movement and the Occupy protests, I invite you to click here, here, here, and also here. And if you want to know the secret menu’s Top Ten Best Things About Farmer’s Markets, plus get a recipe for a delicious kale salad that involves the word “massage,” read on:

Why Farmer’s Markets Are Awesome, by secret menu
10. There is invariably going to be a guy playing a bongo.
9. Toddlers like to do the toddler dance whenever they’re in the vicinity of bongos. The toddler dance involves bending both knees repeatedly, and at random, while wearing over-sized trousers.
8. Free samples!
7. You now have an excuse to talk about food with complete strangers, for hours on end if you choose.
6. You really will feel an exquisite, self-righteous pride if you bring your own produce bag. I don’t know how this works, but it really does. It’s like using the word “whom” correctly — times a thousand.
5. If you play your cards right, you can get a week’s worth of food for well under $10 a day.
4. Sometimes animal shelters set up camp outside the farmer’s market. Who doesn’t love to be greeted by a chorus of puppies?
3. “Going to the farmer’s market” is a social activity, not a chore. So when someone asks you what you did this weekend, you can say, “I went to the farmer’s market,” and they’ll nod knowingly. It doesn’t matter if you spent the rest of your days off watching sports or staring at a wall. You still win.
2. You will run into someone you know. I don’t care if you’re a total shut-in — you will run into someone you know, and the conversation will be pleasant, because people are happy when they are surrounded by food.
1. You will not walk out with a bunch of junk food that makes you feel like taking a 36-hour nap. Instead, you will walk out with a bunch of produce that you have no idea how to cook, and this will force you to be creative. This creativity will energize you and, instead of merely occupying your microwave or local fast food spot, you will truly Occupy your kitchen.

Kale Salad
(serves one hungry Occupier)

Ingredients:
-1/2 bunch kale, with stalks removed, sliced into bite-sized pieces
-1 small pear, quartered and sliced thin
-2 tbs olive oil
-2 tbs freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
-1/2 tsp salt
-a few cracks of pepper
-1 tbsp grated hard cheese (optional)
-1/4 cup walnuts, toasted over high heat in a pan (no oil necessary)

Once you’ve sliced your kale, put it in a small mixing bowl and drizzle in your oil. Now, little Miss/Mister I-Just-Washed-My-Hands, dig in there and start massaging. (Not sure how to massage kale? Practice first on your spouse/partner/foot — they/it will not regret it.) Kale only needs about a minute of massage before it gives up its knots and becomes a lot like cooked kale that has maintained its crisp flavor. Yum!

Add your grapefruit juice, salt and pepper, and pears, and mix. Top with the walnuts and a little cheese if you’d like. Experiment with vertically-oriented photography, and decide you can get behind it. Rant about corporations. Spend an hour updating your blog because you can’t deal with the fact that it’s Monday. And remember, you’re not crazy — it’s the world.

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4 comments

  1. ericascime

    Aw, this post feels like it belongs in my life! And so many reasons! I love kale and pear salads, I savour every moment I get to spend at the farmers’ market and I even had an Occupier shout in my face on the way to class this morning.

  2. secretmenu

    I would like to apologize on behalf of that Occupier — and promise that for every one who shouts in your face, there are five or six (in Canada, more like nine or ten) who want to give you a bear hug. Keep fighting the good fight! Without good journalists, we’re all lost!

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