When moving to Spain, my only experience with gardening (besides being a voyeur with my mother’s gardens) was growing heaps of kale on our 1×3-meter balcony in Stockholm, Sweden.
Growing up in the States, I ate kale at every turn. Kale is so popular in the US among foodies, vegetarians, low-carbers, vegans, hippies, so much so that each year, someone comes up with a new and innovative way to market kale (kale chips being one of the latest fads).
I’m also on the kale-chip bandwagon — kale grown and gathered from my garden, rinsed (to rid of the occasional aphids or butterfly caterpillars), dried, seasoned lightly with sea salt and nutritional yeast (great cheese-like taste and super source of B vitamins), and laid out in single layers in our 9-tray dehydrater. The kale chips come out crispy, savoury, and mouth-wateringly delicious. My youngest daughter eats them like there’s no tomorrow.
So, in the early years of us living in Stockholm, I couldn’t find kale. Actually, that’s not quite true. I found it but only just before Christmas time when Swedes would buy it up to decorate their Christmas tables. I was aghast that no one actually ate it. So, my mom sent me some seeds and I started growing it every year on my balcony. Every other balcony around us had maybe one tomato plant and the ubiquitous balcony herbs, but our balcony was like a kale forest, almost impeding our view across the courtyard.