The bag flaunts a litany of food obsessions: Gluten-Free, Vegan, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Cholesterol-Free, GMO-Free, Raw.
Remember last year’s foodie parties? When everywhere you went, the host would produce a bowl of fresh farmers’ market kale that had been slicked with the best olive oil, crisped in the oven, then sprinkled with sea salt? It was easily the snack of the year. And there was no question that it was healthy and good.
Here’s what the kale chips look like out of the bag.
The snack is so immediate and wholesome, how could it be commercialized? Rhythm Superfoods of Austin, Texas, has found a way. Appearing in local health-food stores recently are kale chips in five flavors: Bombay Curry (shown), Zesty Nacho, Kool Ranch, Texas BBQ, Mango Habanero. The price: $6.99 for a resealable 2-ounce bag.
These chips are made with uncooked vegetable, and conform to the raw-foodist philosophy that any application of heat to food diminishes it nutritionally. This doesn’t mean unprocessed, however. Rather than actually eat raw foods, raw foodists insist on using dehydrators that operate at near room temperature, gobbing their products with the most ungainly combinations of add-ons.
The dried kale chips apparently wouldn’t fly with just sea salt and olive oil on them, so each has an elaborate flavoring scheme, based on nuts, coconut, lemon, yeast powder, spices, and herbs. As you can see, this resolves itself into a thick yellow paste that partly coats the leaf fragments. Apparently, oil is forbidden, but the nuts provide a certain oily mouthfeel to the chips.
How could a product be so “good” and bad all at once? The Bombay Curry has all the charm of raw curry powder, nicely spicy, but also grainy, like eating fine sand. The chips leave an almost chemical aftertaste. They crunch, but also leave a sort of sediment after mastication. No taste of the vegetable comes through.
And why the trashy flavors? “Kool Ranch”? Puleez! Raw foodists, let the vegetables express their inner Zen; don’t cover them up!
Here’s what a delicious bowl of oven-roasted kale looks like.