The illustrious (and illustrated) Ho Train has been attempting to spread the gospel of lettuce on the BBC Connection of late. At some point, I thought to myself: “Wait. I used to be a produce guy. I could probably do an entire entry on lettuce!”
And so, here we are, in an attempt to sate the lettuce hounds (Would hounds eat lettuce?) of our group, I’m going to tell you everything I know about lettuce. Thanks to Wikipedia for confirming my information, and providing more.
Lettuce is green. It can also be red. Romaine and iceberg lettuce are two of the most popular varieties. Lettuce can be used in a variety of salads. It can be found in copious amounts on sandwiches at Subway. Lettuce can also be used in puns.
Lettuce is typically eaten raw, and cold- except in China, where it is
typically cooked (and they use the stem as well as the leaf- yuck). In New York, there are areas where lettuce is eaten with ketchup as a snack.
The history of lettuce is vast. The predecessor to modern lettuce, lactuca serriola, can still be found in Europe and some parts of Asia. This ancestor of lettuce contained lactucarium, which had an effect similar to opium. Both the Egyptians and the Romans used it to induce sleep, though the Egyptians also believed it affected male virility. There were also those who believed that lettuce actually stimulated the appetite, as opposed to helping one rest.
The first appearance of modern lettuce in art was in the piece “Allegory of Summer” by Lucas von Valkenborch, which showed unmistakable pictures of modern butterhead lettuce.
Bitter lettuce contains anti-oxidants, and may actually be better for you than a head of iceberg lettuce (which has a high water content, and relatively low nutrient value).
As one can see, lettuce is a staple of the vegetable community, and because of it’s presence in the glory that is a good ceasar salad, is one of the more tolerable vegetables in the food universe.
But it still isn’t as good as bacon.