Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Lettuce Entertain You

About once a week, I have dinner with my friend, Super G. She's awesome...you've met her in both of my books...and she astounds me with her many fine qualities: beauty, strength, wisdom...and the ability to eat every single piece of lettuce on a plate, no matter how big a salad she's served. As you might guess by my dedicating an entire blog post to this phenomenon, I'm awed by this last of her superpowers most of all.

Confession: lettuce intimidates me. I don't like it. It feels weird in my mouth, and every stupid piece needs to be tamed into submission--floppily folded, cut (which inevitably knocks some other, more cooperative vegetable off of the plate) or crammed into a portion resembling a bite...and then gnawed endlessly until I can finally choke it down. Every salad contains at least 246 of these culinary wrestling matches. So frustrating. And don't even get me started on Oprah's celebration of lettuce that started a few years back: "Ah, the radicchio!" she'd cry, or "How I love arugula and Swiss chard!" Ugh and ugh. I've tried so hard to join this party, but here's my reality: radicchio has the taste and feel that reminds me of those thin pieces of cardboard the guy at the wine store slides between bottles so they don't bang together. And Swiss chard tastes like a tear gas canister went off in my mouth.

Now you'd think the answer to this would be obvious: Trish, don't order salad.
And you'd be right. But here's the thing: I love the things that go ON the salad. Last night for example, there was chicken, which is no big deal. But there were also little squares of Bartlett pear, pecans, feta, and at least 14 other yummy things. And so I spent the better part of an hour fighting back the lettuce in order to get to the good parts.

But Super G? She calmly ate her salad, lettuce and all. It didn't scare her...I'm sure she went in with a plan (She went to military school, so she's strategic like that) but she won't share. Perhaps she works for the CIA in their vegetable promotion division.

So this is my confession: I'm strong in almost every area of life, but easily felled by a big salad. Help me, friends. What is your lettuce strategy? How to do beat it back away from the finer salad elements without completely losing your hold on the dinner conversation?

(And just to clear: the salad in the picture above is not my salad from last night, but it's a fair representation of the larger problem!)


Stacy said...

I'm not a huge lettuce fan either. I'll eat it, but I build my salads light on the lettuce and heavy on the toppings. And given that most of the nutrition is in the toppings, I'm okay with that.

Abby Green said...

"thin pieces of cardboard the guy at the wine store slides between bottles so they don't bang together"...oh, you make me laugh! I am a fan of lettuce, but not the other green leafies unless they are cooked and in soup.
I have to say that my strategy only works if it is you preparing the salad. Chop the lettuce into super tiny pieces...as if you were going to be putting it in a taco. I am convinced it's the easiest way to eat a salad without a full-on battle to keep the lettuce on your fork and not slopping all over your face... :)

millie kate said...

I agree with Abby: a chop salad might be the way to go. But, I don't really apologize for stuffing and chewing. Probably doesn't look very lady-like, but that's not really my goal in life. :)

LEstes65 said...

Ok, first of all, I get to dine with Super G tomorrow night! Second of all, I can give you lots of recipes for salads that do NOT contain ANY lettuce. All that stuff you DO like in a salad? Toss it in a bowl with your favorite dressing! I have tons of stuff you could toss together! Although, thinking back on your cooking skills, just come down here and I'll make it for you!

LEstes65 said...

Oh and also - I bet Super G made the lettuce cry!

Toiah said...

Well you are not missing much... Lettuce has very little nutritional value... So I suggest raw spinach in place of lettuce?