The Lettuce Wars!

Out of curiosity, I did a search on this blog of the word “lettuce” and was fascinated to discover than in over 2 years of this shtick I’ve only mentioned the word “lettuce” in 3 posts. I suppose that is praiseworthy? Perhaps the truest gauge of a blog’s relevance is how many times “lettuce” appears. Or not. Two of my 3 posts in which the word “lettuce” appears did not center around the leafy vegetable that populates salads across our foodie nation. One was all about lettuce. In fact, the title was “We’re trapped in this blog!! Lettuce out, please…” This was from May 10th of last year. Amazing how far I’ve come.

Of course the question that follows is Why? Why the hell am I searching for lettuce on AUM?

Um, what else are you going to do when the subject comes up in the comment thread of a post that supposedly dealt with the trivializing AND dehumanizing nature of modern urbanization. We are talking about lettuce. Knee-jerk conservative Mark, of “Right View from the Left Coast,” started it by taking the traditionalist tack of demeaning the green leafy goodness of Arugula. I mentioned that I had a post dealing with this very subject in my cue (take THAT Anonymous), which was a half-truth. Wise Amy insightfully saw where I was going with this. She offered a small nugget of wisdom in the grand landscape of the Lettuce Wars. Of iceberg lettuce, she said it “tends to be looked down on as the Wonder Bread of the salad world.”

Yes, it is true.
I was raised on iceberg lettuce. Our parents and their generation loved the stuff. Iceberg lettuce has come to symbolize generational obsolescence like a lot of other stuff we prefer to not think about. Why is it each generation feels compelled to denigrate the humble affectations of the previous? In fact, I would say the genesis of the SWPL mentality is nurtured in the veins of generational rebellion. The Hip and the Modern boast of their leafy greens, with good reason. Common sense tells us that the more pigmentation that produce has, the greater the variety of nutrients. When you compare the albino iceberg lettuce to a leafy bundle of green Romaine leaves, it’s easy to guess which will contain the most nutrients. This fact is detailed here.

All those years my parents fed me iceberg. Little did I know they were depriving me of a host of complete vitamins. Child abuse!

C’mon, let’s get real. The superior nutritional offerings of romaines and looseleaf lettuces over iceberg (a “crisphead”) are substantial but in the larger scheme of dietary perspective, not noteworthy. Who the hell from the human family eats a lettuce diet? We are omnivores and thus we derive a complete complement of nutrition from the wide variety of foods we are evolved to digest and masticate. Eating a less nutritious lettuce is not dietary armageddon as long as the rest of your daily diet is well-rounded. Lettuce does not have a monopoly on vitamins A, C, K, etc. Definitely not on anti-oxidants. You can get these all from eating a complete diet of vegetables and fruit. Oh, that’s the problem. People who have the hardest time eating fruit and veggies apparently have no problem eating lots of salad. Puzzling. Personally, I prefer Romaine lettuce. I love green, leafy vegetables. Spinach is the best, especially when it’s fresh. I make sure to mix in carrots, corn, and other varying shades of produce in my diet. Color is nature’s coding scheme for nutritional value.

You don’t need to like iceberg. I just get the impression that lettuce has become a delineation between the traditionalist and the new urban yuppy scum mentality. You won’t be caught dead eating iceberg lettuce in a trendy Hollywood shitbucket nowadays, not because you dislike iceberg as much as you subconsciously desire to distance yourself from generational antiquity while simultaneously ingratiating yourself with modern affectations. Most people won’t admit it or don’t recognize it, but they snub the joys of the crunchy and pale iceberg merely because they are similarly shunning their parent’s generation and mindset.

Just as we tell our children that they aren’t old enough to understand “things” yet, our parents told us the same thing. And everyone is right. We were too young, our children are too young. We all know better, don’t we? And the act of knowing better leads us to turn a nose at that which walked before us. It’s not about the lettuce. It’s about “knowing better” but knowing better means shit. Eat more nutritious lettuce but still eat less vegetables and fruit. That’s our approach. My parents and their parents did not grow up eating food that was predominantly molded from the assorted commercial permutations of corn, and they did not drown in the sweetness of HFCS. Maybe they ate iceberg lettuce, but they ate better all around than we do with all our half-assed knowledge.