Color it green, black, brown, blue, purple, white, or red.
Call it braunkohl, cavolo nero or riccio, chou frisé, borecole, colewort, yuyi ganlan or brassica oleracea acephala.
In any color and by any name, I know and hate kale when I see it—and these days I see it everywhere: like scorched bits of burned paper atop pizzas, muffled into pesto as a dusty, bitter blanket over pasta and risotto, studded like flecks of parchment into brownies and cookies, muddying up the cool elegance of ice creams and sorbets. Recently a food article in The New York Times buried Caesar by suggesting that kale be tossed in with the supple romaine lettuce that is the classic standard for this gently piquant salad. Like equally ubiquitous roasted (a.k.a. burned) carrots and beets and bronzy quinoa, kale on a menu tells gourmet wannabes that they are dining on the cutting edge.