The Hoarchive

Satire, freshly squeezed from Warwick Uni

The Hoar book, pictured on a white studio background.

‘Try kale’: we tried to survive a veg shortage and demonstrated the folly of 2017

Our response to the vegetable shortage shows that we really can’t handle any more disintegration of reality.

‘Try kale’: we tried to survive a veg shortage and demonstrated the folly of 2017

The last vestiges of that world in which we grew up were eroded yesterday by a well-meaning, very 2010s, suggestion that we substitute kale for all the unavailable veg.

Kale was an early 2010s health fad — a leaf of shrublike durability, previously used predominantly for ornamenting 1970s cheeseboards. That superb aesthetic quality of the plant proved a perfect fit for Insta-culture, and led to its astonishing burst of popularity: boiled, steam, roasted, deep fried, smoothied, juiced and god knows what else. No other vegetable has ever been consumed in so diverse and unsuitable a variety of ways.

The magic of 2017, however, seems to be that kale’s unreality — a phenomenon we believed at the time was limited to Instagram and crappy cafés — has infiltrated the fabric of society. Even though it spent centuries a weed, no more a foodstuff than coffee grounds or spoiled meat, we’re now encouraged to replace out of necessity anything unavailable with a bunch of kale.

The BBC, at whose beckon and kale, we still sit so readily, yesterday offered reassurance — in this time of diverse hardship — that lettuce, spinach and frankly anything else green can be readily replaced with cheapo kale. The same kale, that is, that’s ‘an excellent feed for both sheep and cattle’.

The celebrity death cult of 2016 seems a childish prank: 2017 is a year in which entire religions get banned from the US, Putin probably runs the whole show and — most troublingly — green vegetables have been discontinued.

Most disturbingly though, it seems that we’re ill-equipped to handle the departure of our certainties.

Kale seems the perfect analogy for our folly. Seven years ago, it was a half tongue-in-cheek health social media fad. Somewhere in the intervening years, we’ve lost our grasp of the difference between internet moronity and real world logic — the reason it’s ok to offer cattle fodder as an iceberg lettuce alternative is that we’ve been staring at it on our phones for the better part of a decade.

Where does that leave us? Well, we appear to have become cattle-like in a more general sense, and god forbid anything more seismic should happen to our civil rights, our daily lives and the general world order. Chances are we’ll try to fix it all with kale.