Calling upon grade school skills, I wrote a book report for the spring edition of Edible Idaho. Find the recipe for Beddard’s Water Tower Gimlet here.
Bonjour Kale is Kristen Beddard’s tale of her adventure recreating links to the comforts of her childhood while living abroad. Beddard’s memoir starts off with a trip to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport on the Metro to reclaim a suitcase that had been confiscated days before—a suitcase stuffed with kale.
Raised by a single mom who was into yoga, vegetarianism and macrobiotics way before they were trendy, Beddard grew up eating a full gamut of vegetables, including kale (a Brassica related to broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and collard greens). Once out of college she moved to New York City for a marketing job and packed her love for the leafy green with her, introducing kale to her roommate and friends. Besides eating it, they spent many a hot summer night on the roof of their small city apartment drinking Water Tower Gimlets, substituting the more traditional vodka or gin with tequila—and yes, kale juice.
It was smooth kale-ing until Beddard married and moved to Paris for her new husband’s career. She suddenly found herself in an unfamiliar country where she didn’t know the language and was far away from the city she loved and the friends she left behind. But none of that compared to the shock of going from market to market in the “City of Light” and not being able to find kale (it apparently fell out of favor after WWII). For Beddard, the lack was far less about recreating trendy green juices and salads and more about losing a connection to childhood, comfort and her mom.
Bonjour Kale chronicles Beddard’s journey to become the “kale crusader,” determined to bring the légume oublié, the forgotten vegetable, back to France when there wasn’t even a translation for the word kale, or le chou kale as it’s now known. Beddard launched “The Kale Project” in April of 2012, touting the benefits to growers, chefs and restaurants in France—but the book is generously sprinkled with enticing kale recipes, ensuring its place in our shopping carts and Paris on our travel lists.