First I spent years in the belief that kale soup is a traditional Christmas meal in the part of the world where Mother-of-witch grew up. We would have it on Christmas Day, followed by rice porridge. (No need to feel sorry for me. It’s delicious.)
Then I learned it’s not a widespread habit at all. I suppose it was my Grandmother who felt it made for a lighter and cheaper meal to have on the day after the big Christmas meal, and her daughters continued this lack of tradition.
So did her granddaughter, and my first Christmas in England saw me trawling The Lanes in Brighton for kale. ‘No dear, but we have some nice broccoli,’ was generally the reply to my question.
Once we arrived in the north it’s been easier to obtain kale. But then you have the casual conversations when people inquire what we eat for Christmas. They always feel sorry for me. Especially if they know what kale is. And then they tease me.
In the place where I grew up, people eat kale in a different way, but plenty of it, and always as part of the Christmas Eve ‘table.’ Basically, you boil it and then you fry it and then you smother it with butter and cream…
They want a lot of it, so drag home sackfuls of kale from the market in December.
Witnessing this, one newcomer to our area was totally taken aback. Where she came from they put a small sprig of kale on the table for decoration. She was impressed by the amount of table decorating her new neighbours must be getting involved in.
The one change I’ve made to the menu is that we skip the whole Christmas smörgåsbord and I now serve up the non-traditional kale soup on Christmas Eve, closely followed by the rice porridge. One Offspring likes it and the other hates it, so has tinned tomato soup instead. That’s also a tradition.
Go on. Pity me! Or them.