Defend the Indefensible: iceberg lettuce

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After yet another battle with the 'berg in my kitchen I am fed up. I am divorcing this ball of pain.

Iceberg lettuce is nutritionally worthless, basically tasteless, goes bad quickly, takes up too much space in the fridge, sub-par delivery system for salad ingredients, goes limp quickly, highly inconsistent in taste/color/freshness.

There must be a conspiracy for why we eat this crap. I want to know who started the madness and why.

And frankly, Romaine and all those other bad versions of ditchweed are not far off my list of indefensible veggies.

don weiner (don weiner), Friday, 11 November 2005 14:43 (sixteen years ago) link

it is also a pain in the ass to throw away because it fills a trashbag when I am too lazy to grind half a head in the disposal.

don weiner (don weiner), Friday, 11 November 2005 14:44 (sixteen years ago) link

I THINK IT IS THE FAULT OF THE 1950s.

n/a (Nick A.), Friday, 11 November 2005 14:45 (sixteen years ago) link

Spencer once argued that disdaining iceberg lettuce was food snobbery.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Friday, 11 November 2005 14:45 (sixteen years ago) link

its nice when you cut a wedge of it and cover it with blue cheese and bacon.

bingo (Chris V), Friday, 11 November 2005 14:47 (sixteen years ago) link

Iceberg lettuce is really nice if you cut a big, circular slice of it and spread it with mayonnaise.

Mädchen (Madchen), Friday, 11 November 2005 14:51 (sixteen years ago) link

Iceberg lettuce lasts longer than a lot of other salad greens (or "greens" in this case). It's a great canvas for a heavy salad dressing (like Russian dressing), roughly was bingo said. Personally I'm more of an arugala, watercress, or dandelion greens eater, but I think iceberg lettuce is pleasant enough. This might be a case where applying eastern aesthetic ideas of blandness as a positive thing would be helpful. Eating iceberg lettuce is a little like eating water, which isn't such a bad thing.

x-post

Rockist_Scientist (RSLaRue), Friday, 11 November 2005 14:53 (sixteen years ago) link

I am glad this would make me a food snob.

I would rather use other foods (crackers, roasted animal flesh, bread, etc.) to deliver the joys of bacon, blue cheese, mayo, or Russian dressing rather than burden myself with what is basically a fake food. In fact, I'd rather eat all those other things with a spoon than have a battle with "preparing" iceberg lettuce.

The more I think about this, the more annoyed I am that I have been duped by this vegetable for over thirty years.

don weiner (don weiner), Friday, 11 November 2005 15:01 (sixteen years ago) link

iceberg is good in those little salads you get with your miso soup in sushi places

Rob Bolton (Rob Bolton), Friday, 11 November 2005 15:03 (sixteen years ago) link

Another consideration: children who hate most other vegetables will eat iceberg lettuce, making their parents feels better that at least they are eating something (never mind that it is nutritionally pretty insipid).

Rockist_Scientist (RSLaRue), Friday, 11 November 2005 15:08 (sixteen years ago) link

I enjoy its crunch.

Laura H. (laurah), Friday, 11 November 2005 15:08 (sixteen years ago) link

Besides the classic American Iceberg wedge, it's perfect for shredding in Mexican food. Butter lettuce is my favorite though, followed by grilled hearts of romaine.

The best crunch is endive.

M. White (Miguelito), Friday, 11 November 2005 15:09 (sixteen years ago) link

I mean, it's almost kind of perfect that way, like water. It's nothing but crunch.
xpost

Laura H. (laurah), Friday, 11 November 2005 15:09 (sixteen years ago) link

not so great in general, but you can't beat a big fresh wedge smothered in roquefort dressing with crumbled bacon and hard-cooked egg and chopped onion. basically, the kind of salad you get in old school steakhouses.

lauren (laurenp), Friday, 11 November 2005 15:11 (sixteen years ago) link

that would taste just as good without the lettuce tho right?

Sociah T Azzahole (blueski), Friday, 11 November 2005 15:13 (sixteen years ago) link

No, 'cause as Laura pointed out, it would lack that refreshing crunch.

M. White (Miguelito), Friday, 11 November 2005 15:15 (sixteen years ago) link

The firm whack on the counter to loosen the core is worth the $0.99 I paid for the head of lettuce. The fact that I can eat the entire head, cut into wedges, with salt while watching a movie is just bonus. I prefer other greens in salads, but iceberg lettuce is fun to eat in wedges. It has a point. It's defensible.

The Milkmaid (of Human Kindness) (The Milkmaid), Friday, 11 November 2005 15:19 (sixteen years ago) link

stevem, who would want to eat a big glob of claggy dressing mixed with bits of bacon and egg on its own? oh wait... you're english.

lauren (laurenp), Friday, 11 November 2005 15:23 (sixteen years ago) link

yes, the whack on the core is pretty fun as far as food prep goes, although I must admit that going O.J. on a head of iceberg with a butcher knife can be just as exciting.

I have bad memories from a restaurant job where a box of iceberg came in with a dead rat inside.

don weiner (don weiner), Friday, 11 November 2005 15:29 (sixteen years ago) link

The more I think about this, the more annoyed I am that I have been duped by this vegetable for over thirty years.

Don, if you can be conned by a head of lettuce, how can we trust what you say on political threads anymore?!

I do feel guilty for getting any perverse amusement out of it (Rock Hardy), Friday, 11 November 2005 15:50 (sixteen years ago) link

head of lettuce vs head of state

Sociah T Azzahole (blueski), Friday, 11 November 2005 15:58 (sixteen years ago) link

Don, if you can be conned by a head of lettuce, how can we trust what you say on political threads anymore?!

Clearly, this would explain a lot of things.

don weiner (don weiner), Friday, 11 November 2005 16:05 (sixteen years ago) link

i have never eaten a wedge of iceburg lettuce but I enjoy cabbage this way. Raw cabbage is nice and rubbery.

Miss Misery (thatgirl), Friday, 11 November 2005 16:13 (sixteen years ago) link

people who dont like iceberg lettuce make me suspicious

minna (minna), Saturday, 12 November 2005 15:30 (sixteen years ago) link

When I worked in a nursery we always sold out of the sixpacks of iceberg starts right away. Apparently the homegrown version is amazing.

Beth Parker (Beth Parker), Saturday, 12 November 2005 15:55 (sixteen years ago) link

Iceberg lettuce is the only kind of lettuce suitable for tacos. Does this justify its existence? I'm not sure.

youn, Saturday, 12 November 2005 16:10 (sixteen years ago) link

Spencer once argued that disdaining iceberg lettuce was food snobbery.

-- Ned Raggett (ne...) (webmail), Yesterday 8:45 AM. (Ned) (later)

i agree with this. i hate the hold rocket has over the food networks.

its texture is what works for me. if im making a sandwich i need and even balance of wet and dry as such:

bread - dry
butter/marg - wet
lettuce - dry
beetroot - wet
cheese - dry
tomato - wet

right there is the perfect sandwich.

my family was never anti-dessert but its just something we never thought to eat after dinner. i was pretty shocked, when i started making friends of my own, that every other kid was eating ice cream with all kinds of syrup (remember 'ice magic'?) every night. All except one of my friends whose mother only let him eat lettuce sprinkled with sugar for dessert. years later, this is still a solid basis for ridicule in our relationship.

Also, my mom used to talk me into eating vegatables by saying 'but it doesnt taste of anything!' (iceberg lettuce being one of those), which may be the reason i like my food so bland, even pepper is a little too spicy for me.

sunny successor (he hates my guts, we had a fight) (katharine), Saturday, 12 November 2005 16:44 (sixteen years ago) link

http://seeds.thompson-morgan.com/pix/m/seeds/4/439.jpg

it's all about the "little gem" for me.

grimly fiendish (grimlord), Saturday, 12 November 2005 18:38 (sixteen years ago) link

I think the little gem has a lovely flavour. It cooks well, too.

Mädchen (Madchen), Saturday, 12 November 2005 21:51 (sixteen years ago) link

Iceberg is the perfect thing to eat larb nuea or larb gai with - wrap a bite of spicy spicy meat in a cool crunchy leaf. Mmmmm.

Jaq (Jaq), Saturday, 12 November 2005 22:17 (sixteen years ago) link

Seconded. Also it's the only lettuce that works with asian salads.

VegemiteGrrl (VegemiteGrrl), Saturday, 12 November 2005 22:49 (sixteen years ago) link

I LIKE THAM LETTUCE WRAPS YOU GET AT PF CHANGS

Homosexual II (Homosexual II), Sunday, 13 November 2005 00:22 (sixteen years ago) link

what laura h. said! it's crunchy and it has a texture that's hard to replicate and very useful in some situations. it is not an all-purpose green, but we all knew that.

s1ocki (slutsky), Sunday, 13 November 2005 00:37 (sixteen years ago) link

Cos lettuce mofos!

tho recently I had a chunk of very pale crunchy iceberg in a thai salad kag, smothered in satay sauce, hardboiled egg, carrot, etc, the lettuce made the spice manageable.

I dont usually like it at all tho. Too bland. Cos has a good flavour and texture and holds together nicely in salad or on sammichez.

Trayce (trayce), Sunday, 13 November 2005 01:01 (sixteen years ago) link

laura is otm about the crunch!
while i generally eat "greener" lettuces now, when i was a kid i always wanted iceburg and thought my parents were snobs because they always bought romaine and seemed to think iceburg was pure crap and not worth eating.

tehresa (tehresa), Sunday, 13 November 2005 01:09 (sixteen years ago) link

I agree that iceberg lettuce is generally better for mexican food, or anything that calls for shredded lettuce for texture.

I don't think it's the best lettuce for salads, but it's okay when mixed with some other leafy greens - butter, romaine, what have you.

It's totally dud when people get all up in arms about iceberg lettuce though.

Matthew C Perpetua (inca), Sunday, 13 November 2005 01:34 (sixteen years ago) link

iceberg is utterly indefensible.

What I want to know is what does my beloved rocket lettuce look like when it' not in a bag? What flavour plant?

dog latin (dog latin), Sunday, 13 November 2005 02:26 (sixteen years ago) link

nine years pass...

fuck salad

Robert Earl Hughes (dandydonweiner), Monday, 24 August 2015 22:43 (six years ago) link

fuck sandwiches too

brimstead, Monday, 24 August 2015 22:46 (six years ago) link

man, that article is really annoying and challopsy

brimstead, Monday, 24 August 2015 22:51 (six years ago) link

because all salads are made with iceberg lettuce do u c

Οὖτις, Monday, 24 August 2015 22:52 (six years ago) link

The nutritional composition of iceberg vs. almost any other lettuce is negligible. The waste in growing lettuce in a field (85% or higher of US lettuce is grown in Salinas, California) is astounding. Horrible agriculture.

Robert Earl Hughes (dandydonweiner), Monday, 24 August 2015 23:40 (six years ago) link

6 gallons of water to grow a 5 oz of organic, ready to eat lettuce. And that's not counting the water used to wash it three times.

Robert Earl Hughes (dandydonweiner), Monday, 24 August 2015 23:41 (six years ago) link

Where the fuck are people ordering all these salads that are just lettuce, cucumber and radishes?

I might like you better if we Yelped together (Phil D.), Monday, 24 August 2015 23:44 (six years ago) link

Yeah what a strange article. Almost no salads Ive eaten have had iceberg lettuce, and even the ones mostly greens-based are heavy on the rocket and herbs and tomatoes and cheese (parm, feta).

Most "salads" I encounter are beets, chickpeas, nuts, cheeses, greens/herbs/wild leaves.

I checked Snoops , and it is for real (Trayce), Monday, 24 August 2015 23:49 (six years ago) link

Yeah but the vast, vast majority of salads served use iceberg as the base (food service/restaurants). The most common ingredient in a salad other than iceberg lettuce is tomatoes.

The trend is galloping away from iceberg and towards ready to eat lettuces of arguably "more nutritious" varieties such as lollo/butter or other loose-leaf leafy greens. But the nutritional profile, particularly for the serving size. Several oz of any kind of lettuce has almost no nutritional value. Even a few ounces of spinach or collards or chard or kale or whatever has meager nutritional impact. People starve themselves by eating water or they use the lettuce as decoration and load up on other stuff.

Robert Earl Hughes (dandydonweiner), Monday, 24 August 2015 23:56 (six years ago) link

I dunno, I like dark greens in a salad for their flavour (esp wild rocket). And bitter greens are sposed to be good for digestion, tho I suppose in the bowlful amounts of a salad who knows if it has much impact as you say.

I checked Snoops , and it is for real (Trayce), Tuesday, 25 August 2015 00:09 (six years ago) link

I still like iceberg lettuce salads (blue cheese / walnuts / etc.) but I do not pretend that they're anything but an indulgence.

polyphonic, Tuesday, 25 August 2015 00:17 (six years ago) link

people should only eat foods with an optimal nutritional profile-to-serving size ratio

brimstead, Tuesday, 25 August 2015 00:26 (six years ago) link


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