August 5, 2006

"Iceberg lettuce is the *only* way to go when it comes to lettuce."

"Some people complain that Iceberg lettuce is just water, but this is why I like it. Anything else is too damned leafy. If I want that I can eat the trees out front thank you."

Amazon is selling groceries now, and the usual Amazon reviewers are serving up reviews of the various items. It seems silly, and many of the reviews are pure humor vignettes, but it seems to me that there's a real need to review your basic foods.

Take the tomato, for example:
I find tomatoes to be overrated. They're an important ingredient in many things, obviously, but as an item themselves they're of limited use. They taste alright, but their texture is too screwed up. The only time I ever really eat raw tomatoes is on hamburgers and sandwiches, and usually prefer not to have them, as they destablilize the whole sandwich so that it all falls apart. Obnoxious, that is.
We need to hear this! That's useful. It helps focus your thoughts about these ordinary foods that we're just witlessly eating. There are some specific problems that you might not really notice until someone pins it down with the right phraseology. Like once, decades ago, I heard someone say okra is mucilaginous. That was about it for me and okra. Now, with these Amazon reviews, the chances of me being grossed out by food previously thought inoffensive are vastly increased. On the other hand, it becomes possible to see the good in a previously scorned food, like iceberg lettuce. It's just water. And that's good.

23 comments:

knoxgirl said...

It's true, tomatoes have to be perfectly ripe or they're pretty pointless. And the texture of okra IS repulsive.

I'll admit it, every now and then, nothing hits the spot like an iceberg lettuce salad with ranch dressing! Yums!

SippicanCottage said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JB said...

To properly review the tomato pretty much requires a garden. I suppose that's the wonderful thing about tomatoes is that every summer they practically beg you to start a garden. Tomatoes (at least where I live) are fairly easy to grow, and cherry tomatoes ripe off the vine...delish. Even other tomatoes are darn good when ripe. Nothing like store bought

Elizabeth said...

Some foods have nasty textures but are still sublime on the taste buds. Fried okra is an example, and okra gumbo, too. Let's just go whole hog and praise stewed okra and tomatoes: slimy but tasty.

I really, really like that observation about tomatoes "destabilizing" the sandwich. They do! I eat sliced tomatoes by themselves, with salt and pepper.

The Drill SGT said...

I agree with JB.

Fresh grown tomatoes are wonderful. They are really idiot proof to grow on your own and provide the best ROI of any home grown produce. Slices of Tomato, Mozzarella, basil, and a bit of vinaigrette on top.

The Zero Boss said...

Anyone who would rank iceberg lettuce above baby spinach needs a bullet in their cranium.

And yes, I am fundamentalist about my greens, thankyouverymuch.

Jim H said...

Even if online grocery shopping does find a niche, will it ever be a good idea to have your produce shipped from halfway across the country by Amazon?

I know it's shipped anyway, but don't perishable items travel better as a group?

Susan said...

Ah tomatoes! Just in time for National
Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor's Porch Night
coming up in just a few
days.

Dave said...

Anyone who thinks iceberg lettucs is a sufficient replacement for kale is misinformed.

Der Hahn said...

I have jungle of tomatoes growing ... early girls, roma, grape, cherry, some called jelly bean (betwwen grape and cherry in size), an heirloom one. They are absolutely the best ROI for a home garden.

I just made a mess of salsa with jalapenos and anaheims, plus any of the ripe tomatoes I could find.

I'm going to be trying this tomorrow for supper. It looks like a good way to enjoy the BLT without the mess. (HT to my favorite TV chef, AB)

verification word : dshiuym... as in "dshiuym up more of them 'maters, ma".

Rick Lee said...

Hearts of Romaine. That's all I wanted to say.

knoxgirl said...

I do love kale too, but at times it can go like pac-man through your lower tract, even more so than other greens

Jim H said...

I do love kale too, but at times it can go like pac-man through your lower tract, even more so than other greens

And that's the real reason kale can't be purchased at a drive-through.

Theo Boehm said...

Call any vegetable
(Call any vegetable)
Call it by name
(Call any vegetable)
Call one today
(Call any vegetable)
When you get off the train
(Call any vegetable)
Call any vegetable
And the chances are good
Ooooh! The vegetable
Will respond to you

Palladian said...

I've got two words for you: fiddlehead ferns!

Palladian said...

"I'll admit it, every now and then, nothing hits the spot like an iceberg lettuce salad with ranch dressing! Yums!"

In this scenario, the iceberg lettuce simply serves as a neutral carrier for the thing you really want to eat - the ranch dressing. It's like popcorn, which is simply a neutral delivery medium for butter and salt. Do what I do, skip the iceberg lettuce and drink the dressing out of the bottle.

Or if you simply must have a mild flavored lettuce, leave the iceberg in the crisper where it's been for the last 8 months and try the much superior tender Boston or Bibb lettuce. There are so many delicious greens! I prefer a more bitter salad.

Jonathan said...

Here is my proposal. We eliminate all zoning laws and at the same time make iceberg lettuce illegal. This seems like a fair tradeoff.


"YYrvy"

knoxgirl said...

alas, my Kroger right around the corner doesn't carry Boston, I usually end up getting red leaf and a handful of that "Spring Mix" stuff to mix in.

Tibore said...

"...the iceberg lettuce simply serves as a neutral carrier for the thing you really want to eat - the ranch dressing. It's like popcorn, which is simply a neutral delivery medium for butter and salt."

Heh... that's how I view french fries: A delivery meduim for ketchup.

Mmmm.... ketchup (drools).

As far as iceberg lettuce... In my mind, it's the only proper choice for tacos. Why single out tacos? Well, 'cause I'm eating one as I post this, along with a terrific torta from one of the (dozens of) local latin eateries.

'Nother advantage for iceberg: It's not got a stupid high price for a head of it.

---

Word verif: chljrks. "Chill, jerks"? What, does the Word V think we're taking this way too seriously?

purple_kangaroo said...

Butter lettuce is fabulous . . . mild, delicate and sweet. It comes in a head like iceberg, but is much more expensive.

Nevada said...

But what is that sticky stuff that oozes out from garlic when I mince it that makes the chopped product stick to the knife and my fingers?

knoxgirl said...

garlic juice

Elizabeth said...

I had a wonderful iceberg experience tonight that validated the Amazon review, and made me notice how much a part of good cuisine it can be.

After an hour in my unairconditioned black car, under scorching skies and in 98 degree heat, we decided on seafood salads for dinner. The restaurant was dark and cool, and the salads came quickly, with sliced boiled Gulf shrimp and lump Louisiana crabmeat on a simple salad of chopped iceberg, topped with remoulade dressing. It was cold, crunchy, and wet. My goodness, it was perfect.

Also on the salad menu was "Lettuce Wedge," a quarter head of iceberg with blue cheese dressing. Not on this menu, but a local favorite, is the very un-PC named Wop Salad, a wedge of iceberg with sliced tomatoes, onions, sweet peppers, parmesan, and Italian dressing.

I love the cool, sweet leaves of butter lettuce, the sharp tang of a leafy mix, but I'm not snobbish about the wonders of iceberg.