Kids suffer as hipster parents name them after trendy foods


am so over kale. I’m weary of it in smoothies. I don’t like the leafy green vegetable (and former garnish) as a juice. Kale — in its chewy adult and baby forms — has jumped the shark and is in too many salads and saute dishes. There are dozens, if not hundreds of other leafy veggies that taste better and deserve being discovered.

However, that is not why I am opposed to “Kale” being used as a name. I just think it’s a bad idea to inflict a weird name on a baby that will plague them for their entire life.

I didn’t realize that naming children after vegetables was a thing until I saw a release from noting that “more new parents are choosing baby names that reflect their love of healthy foods.” Apparently trendy, fast-rising girls’ names in 2018 included Kale, Kiwi, Maple, Clementine, Saffron, Rosemary and, for boys, Sage. Surprisingly, “Turmeric” doesn’t appear to be on the list.

For one thing, people won’t pronounce “Kale” “KayLee.” It will be “Kail,” and probably with a slight drawl. Heaven help young Kale if she is seen scarfing down Twinkies and Coke.

I do not know how common this trend is in Boulder County, but I do know that naming your progeny after a seedless citrus fruit won’t make them grow up the healthy, fit and wholesome. In my case, being named after Saint John did not make me mature into a holy man.

Names like these tend not to hold up well over the decades. Just ask the now-grownups who were named “Moonbeam” by hippie parents in the late 1960s. There have been studies over the years that gauged the negative impact odd naming can have on school grades, careers, earning potential and quality of life. There are exceptions like NBA star Kobe Bryant who was named after a steakhouse that served fat-marbled Kobe beef.

(Don’t get cocky about your “normal” name. In 1954 “John” was the No. 4 boys name is the U.S, according to Social Security Administration. By 2017, John had fallen to 27th place.)

By the way, Colorado’s top baby names in 2017 were, for girls, Emma, Olivia, Charlotte, Evelyn and Isabella, and for boys: Liam, Oliver, William, Noah and Benjamin. Olivia and Oliver are fruit-derived names but I don’t automatically think about Kalamatas or extra virgin oil.

Your name is all about your parents, not you. Giving a kid a one-of-a-kind name is OK as long as you think about the long-term implications and are aware that some names have unpleasant meanings in other cultures. 

I love the taste of licorice-y anise seeds in certain foods and beverages, but you would have to be bold to name your boy “Anise,” as suggested by one online source. It ignores a cardinal naming principle: Make sure the name can’t be turned into an insult and used for bullying. Imagine what the other kids at school would do with a name like “Anise.” 

Please don’t name your child after the alcoholic beverage you consumed the night they were conceived. A co-worker told me his parents originally named him “Yeager.” I said: “Like the famous test pilot, Chuck Yeager?” He said: “No, ‘Jäger,’ like Jägermeister” — the 70-proof liqueur. They wisely changed their minds at the last minute.

Avoid female happy hour monikers like “Merlot” and “Syrah.” One rule of child-naming is that you must imagine your daughter at a job interview confronted with questions like: “So, Absinthe, how would you handle a project like this?” 

So, maybe skip “Quinoa” and “Chai” and go with “Rosemary” or “Madeleine” if you want your child to be thought of as edible.

These food-centric birth certificate names are a different bowl of beans from our favorite food-related terms of endearment including “Honey,” “Sugar Pie” and “Sweetie.” Those are personal, not permanent.

My son’s mom and I finally named him “Hans” a week after he was born after lengthy and hilarious deliberations. The name turned out to be unusual but at least easy to spell. The problem is that the only people named “Hans” in popular culture are actors playing German terrorists in films. However, we all feel it is a definite improvement over his in-utero nickname: “Bubba.”

The quarter century club

The Jan. 31 Nibbles column chronicled how Boulder dined in the mid-‘90s. Continuing our flashback, here are some of the Boulder restaurants that have been open at least since about 1994: Flagstaff House, Jax Fish House, The Med, Gondolier, Boulder Cork, Greenbriar Inn, Carelli’s, Chez Thuy, Chautauqua Dining Hall, Sushi Zanmai, Ras Kassa’s, Zolo Grill, Falafel King, Village Coffee Shop, Walnut Café, Dot’s Diner, Lucile’s Creole Cafe, Trident Cafe, The Sink, Salvaggio’s, Rio Grande, Mustard’s Last Stand, Brewing Market and The Pub on Wilderness (Boulder Beer).

Local food news

Tip Top Pie Shop is open at 105 N. Public Road in Lafayette selling savory, hand-held New Zealand-style pies. … Uturn BBQ and Brewery has closed at 599 Crossing Drive, Lafayette. Lark Spot, a new eatery from the Larkburger folks, will open there. Larkburger is closing some locations and re-branding others as Lark Spot with an expanded menu. … The 38th annual Chocolate Lovers’ Fling to benefit Safehouse featuring treats from chocolatiers, chocolate martinis, dinner, a cake walk and an ice cream bar is Feb. 9 at the Omni Interlocken Hotel.

Taste of the week

CBD is the buzzword du jour now that hemp has been legalized. THC’s non-psychoactive cannabinoid cousin has proven effective for inflammation, anxiety and pain but has mainly been available as a supplement or a topical. Now it’s starting to pop up on menus. One of the tastiest examples is available at Dazed and Confuzed, a noteworthy artisan doughnut shop in Aurora’s Stanley Marketplace. The shop offers a yeasted doughnut with a great berry glaze infused with 20 mg of full-spectrum (whole plant) hemp-derived CBD extract. Its striking garnish is a whole candied fresh hemp leaf.   

Words to chew on

“Why should there be hunger and privation in any land, in any city, at any table when man has the resources and the scientific know-how to provide all mankind with the basic necessities of life?” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

John Lehndorff is hosts Radio Nibbles on KGNU. Listen to podcasts: