January 12, 2009

Lettuce is selfish.

It belongs on a list of "socially unacceptable foods."

58 comments:

Palladian said...

When I read someone described as a "futurist", I immediately translate that to "mediocre publicity hound". I mean, futurist? Yes! I tell you about THE FYOOTURRE! But I'm not a two-bit psychic charlatan type fortune teller because my prognostication involves talking about NIFTY GADGETS.

Whatever. Anyway, this "futurist" seems a little short-sighted if he can't predict that people's tolerance for preachy environmentalism is much more limited than their embarrassment over lettuce. My students, most of who did their growing up in the Era of The Holy Gore, have expressed to me how sick they are of people preaching and moralizing about their "carbon choices".

Of course all this nonsense will probably be enshrined into law in the next 8-10 years of the Obama Administration, so get prepared for the lettuce ban. Maybe we can secretly and illegally grow it in our basements, under the earth-raping rays of illegal incandescent plant bulbs.

Original Mike said...

Christ! I can't even have my iceberg lettuce? This is getting ridiculous.

Who are these people? And, more importantly, why do they want my lettuce?

traditionalguy said...

Talk about a Nanny State! Selfish eating ranks right up there along with selfish breathing[Something all those selfish little foetus' would like to do]. When will they ever learn? Anyway I could understand mandating Romain Lettuce. I suggest in place of an Iceburg lettuce ban that we painlessly throw Bad lettuce into a system requiring Bad lettuce permits to be purchased, like permits to consume beef from high-fart cows under Al Gore's Cap and Trade One World Bank. A crisis is a crisis.

Michael H said...

Starts time clock to measure time elapsed until someone calls for a iceberg lettuce bailout.

But not for Bernie Madoff. I think he ate iceburg lettuce.

Palladian said...

Arugula seems pretty selfish, doesn't it?

Ann Althouse said...

"Alright, Mel Family! You might be able to steal this one if you tell me something people like to bite."

Jeremy said...

Yup, lettuce. Not Big Macs, not foie gras, not zea mays, not wines or cheeses or Five-Star bars. Lettuce should be socially unacceptable. On selfishness grounds.

Don't let yourselves be taken in; this is a ruse.

Christy said...

Drat! I gave up iceberg lettuce a couple or three years ago for the more nutritionally dense mesclun, romaine, etc. Iceberg is half the cost, and also less than half the vitamins and minerals. I so hate to be lined up with the food police.

Tibore said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joseph Hovsep said...

Iceburg lettuce? Good riddance. I never understood why such a bland, nutritionless, tasteless vegetable became such a staple.

Tibore said...

Amen to Palladian. Historical "futurists" vision of what the internet was involved pneumatic tubes, and was so severely limited by their viewpoint that they could not imagine the sort of interactivity that would overturn the paradigms of information delivery and authority like it has today. The future takes its own twists and turns (Where's my flying car, dammit??!!), and anyone who tries to predict such specific occurrances is reaching too far beyond their perspective to justify labeling their predictions as anything other than "wild-ass guess".

We're not wearing silvery jumpsuits, and we're not eating pills. Why should I pay any attention to what they say about the future from this vantage point?

Original Mike said...

Iceburg lettuce? Good riddance. I never understood why such a bland, nutritionless, tasteless vegetable became such a staple.

It can be anything you want it to be. Seems like the perfect food of the future, if you ask me.

ricpic said...

Watch the cognoscenti outrage barometer go through the roof if and when the porcini mushroom, devoid of nutritional value, is categorized as a selfish food.

Depends, as always, on whose ox is being gored.

traditionalguy said...

As Little Red Ridinghood is said to have told the Big Bad Wolf: Eat, eat,eat. Doesn't anyone Blog anymore?

Pogo said...

Oh God No no no, but Faith Popcorn has replicated.

Donna B. said...

Since I prefer static ads over flashing moving screen invaders, I guess I'm just an old-fashioned, foresight-lacking curmudgeon.

And yeah, Palladian nailed this one.

Jeremy said...

Christy - you're not out of the woods yet. The linked article doesn't specify iceburg lettuce. Just "lettuce." We're coming for your Bibb lettuce, too!

Henry Buck said...

What's going to happen to all of that water currently trapped in iceburg lettuce? The coasts will be flooded!

Palladian said...

"Good riddance. I never understood why such a bland, nutritionless, tasteless vegetable became such a staple."

People who don't understand the culinary arts forget that texture is very important to cuisine. Iceberg lettuce, for all its deficiencies, has a very firm texture and stays very crunchy in salads and sandwiches. It's also easy to grow and transports and stores better than other lettuces. Hence its ubiquity, especially in the fast food industry.

Many of the "hipster" greens are just too bitter (see: arugula) to be used in salads other than as a subtle accent. I don't use Iceberg lettuce myself but I wanted to defend its texture. It's not totally useless, though I recommend the tender and more flavorful Boston lettuce as a substitute for all uses.

Palladian said...

"Oh God No no no, but Faith Popcorn has replicated."

Ack!

Feminist Catholicism! Didn't quite pop.

Cedarford said...

Keep in mind that the article somehow translates Green extremists attempting to dictate to the rest of us as the new definers of the socially unacceptable - the lettuce foes are the same ones preaching no one should use plastic supermarket bags or "landfill castastrophe!" plastic water bottles...

Who are these people? And, more importantly, why do they want my lettuce?

1. Self-important, meddling assholes.
2. They want your "lettuce" as another token of their reaching for societal control over the masses. Along with non-free range chickens, Chilean grapes flown here and thus destroying the environment, inhumane slaughter kosher meat, diet soda in schools vs. "nutritious high-cal fruit drink". And many more things they see as banning to affirm their power as our nannies, safety Nazis, and food Nazis..

Joseph Hovsep said...
Iceburg lettuce? Good riddance. I never understood why such a bland, nutritionless, tasteless vegetable became such a staple.


Same reason as why Chinese and Euros add certain "nutritionless"
ingredients like bamboo shots, water chestnuts, bok choy stalks, fried onions, "crunchies" added to yogurt and ice cream.. and almost all spices ..to food.
To give it the texture and taste great foods and recipes demand. People want contrast in their cuisines.
Lettuce is essential in the West for many recipes. Not just salads, but the "crunch" and sauce holding qualities it gives to tacos, sandwhiches, hamburgers topped with lettuce. And cold soups and cassiroles.
The food Nazis claim that "empty foods" that add little or no "real nutrition" should be banned from our diets is an asinine one. We suffer more from obesity and "over consumption of healthy nutritious food" than we suffer from the effects of eating letuce or drinking bottled water and diet soda.

Original Mike said...

Thanks, Palladian. The reason I like iceberg is that it's crunchy.

Original Mike said...

The food Nazis claim that "empty foods" that add little or no "real nutrition" should be banned from our diets is an asinine one.

Isn't "no food without nutrition" the same mind set as "no sex without procreation"?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

In the 20s and 30s a lettuce salad was a huge treat because they didn't have the refrigerated transport capabilities that we have now which allows us to have seasonal foods, such as lettuce, out of season.

Iceberg lettuce was popular because it was best able to survive in transport.

An elegant salad for the time was a chilled wedge (1/4 of a head) covered with blue cheese or roquefort salad dressing. If you wanted to go over the top, crumbled crisp bacon.

Jeremy said...

Original Mike - Yes. See also "No playtime without learning."

ricpic said...

Superb point, Original Mike. Shows what puritans they are.

blake said...

Greetings, my friend. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future. You are interested in the unknown. The mysterious. The unexplainable. That is why you are here. And now, for the first time, we are bringing to you, the full story of what happened on that fateful day. We are bringing you all the evidence, based only on the secret testimony, of the miserable souls, who survived this terrifying ordeal. The incidents, the places. My friend, we cannot keep this a secret any longer. Let us punish the guilty. Let us reward the innocent. My friend, can your heart stand the shocking facts of lettuce robbers from outer space?

ricpic said...

That's still an elegant salad IMO, DBQ.

Henry Buck said...

I don't think the rule was no sex without procreation. Rather the rule was (1) refrain from sex until marriage; once you are married, engage in sex frequently but (2) do not attempt to interfere with procreation.

Diet Coke = artificial contraception.

Original Mike said...

Personally, I do not believe the future exists, never having experienced it myself. Everyday I wake up, and it's the present.

Palladian said...

Cooked lettuce is very good if done correctly. Julia Child has a wonderful recipe for it in volume one Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Beth said...

But "arugula" is fun to say, especially if you pretend to be an old car, tooting your horn. Aroooogoola.

Beth said...

A common menu item at little mom n' pop restaurants in New Orleans is the "lettuce wedge." It's a cold, quarter hunk of iceberg, drizzled with your choice of dressing. I don't know why, but it's popular at steak houses, too.

ricpic said...

But the present you wake up in is better or worse than the present you wake up in because of what you do with the present you wake up in when you wake up in it...or something.

Pogo said...

Julia Child; spy and now selfish steamer of empty calories.

What next will we learn of her?
Had she, too, aped Kate Winslow?

Original Mike said...

But the present you wake up in is better or worse than the present you wake up in because of what you do with the present you wake up in when you wake up in it...or something.

I...can see that.

garage mahal said...

A common menu item at little mom n' pop restaurants in New Orleans is the "lettuce wedge."

I remember sitting down for the Fried Oyster & Shrimp Po Boy at the ACME in NOLA after a bout of what seemed like near death alcohol poisoning from Jazz-Fest staring at the those oysters that looked like deep fried testicles, thinking there was absolutely no way I could take a bite. I'll be damned if I didn't devour the entire plate followed remarkably with three more beers....zombie hangover gone! One of the best sandwiches in America bar none.

theobromophile said...

Oh, please. The only way that this will happen is if the government decides that it will analyse each and every food to determine the "social cost" to calorie (or nutritional value) ratio, and prevents people from growing those that don't rank well. Possibly, this could happen, with the government subsidising a lot of agriculture, but in a free-market system, people will pay for what they want.

Also, I would have thought that Malthusian theories were disproved long ago, but apparently, some people missed that memo.

Joe said...

Shouldn't things with empty calories be encouraged? We can all fill ourselves while dying of malnutrition, which we know is infinitely better than dying of obesity.

Palladian said...

"The only way that this will happen is if the government decides that it will analyse each and every food to determine the "social cost" to calorie (or nutritional value) ratio, and prevents people from growing those that don't rank well. Possibly, this could happen, with the government subsidising a lot of agriculture, but in a free-market system, people will pay for what they want."

We're precariously close to abandoning any pretense of a free-market system. As for the food analysis, didn't Obama promise to create 1000000000 billion jobs in his first 3.7 minutes in office? Maybe he can create a army of food necessity inspectors.

Bob said...

I must now look at lettuce in a new light. I'll go down to the fashionable part of city, order a salad with extra lettuce, then watch some enviro-Nazis as their heads begin to explode. We'll need a handy chart to compare carbon offsets of "selfish foods" versus a tree-hugger when they implode. Would I get some extra points by sprinkling some transfats on my salad?

Beth said...

garage mahal,

That's an evocative image of oysters. But it has me wanting a big ol' oyster po'boy. I might have to manage that for lunch tomorrow.

And you have to have it dressed with lettuce, to soak up the mayo.

Palladian said...

I have to say, I've never heard an actual person complain or moralize about lettuce. The only two things I've ever been personally denounced by an enviromentalist (emphasis on the mental) for buying or eating was beef and Perrier water. I have a 5 bottle a day sparkling mineral water habit, which must have killed a polar bear by now.

blake said...

Re-reading my own comment, I have come to the conclusion that the ghost of Ed Wood II must have written all of John McCain's speeches.

reader_iam said...

I have to say, I've never heard an actual person complain or moralize about lettuce.

Palladian, meet my father.

(To be fair, his beef with iceberg lettuce is how insipid it is and how it's a blight on the palate, as opposed to the planet.

And I'm not giving him more ammunition, nosirree.)

ZZMike said...

"Car profiling." That guy doesn't even think ahead.

Most people will go back to the same fast-food emporium on a regular basis. Some drive through, some walk in.

Scan the license plates (or in a few years, the RFID), then start cooking what they had last time they went through.

Piece of cake. Or maybe, "cheeseburger, no mayo, extra tomato, lettuce, pickles and a Monster Coke, easy on the ice".

When I hear "futurist", I think of someone like Freeman Dyson, or his daughter Esther, or G. K. O'Neill, or Toffler, or even H. G. Wells.

garage mahal said...

Beth
I've heard a fried oyster po boy dressed is healthier than a Caesars Salad. And you can judge a po boy on the number of napkins used.

traditionalguy said...

Like the movie Red Dawn we can become Wolverines doing our fighting from the Salinas river valley. They will never stop our American lettuce distribution, so help me God. They can keep the artichokes which really are of no value like Segways.

Freeman Hunt said...

I never buy lettuce. I am going to buy it next time I go to the store.

The article also mentions using RFID tags to let us know what's in the fridge. I am lucky to already have the technology that allows access to this information. My fridge has a door on it that you can open. When the door is open, you can actually see all the things in the refrigerator. Just call me Freeman Jetson.

Marcia said...

They came first for the iceberg. But I did not speak up because I did not like iceberg.

Then they came for the romaine. But I did not speak up because Caesar salad is too fattening anyway.

Then they came for the red leaf. But I did not speak up because, seriously, red lettuce? Lettuce should be green.

Then they came for the arugula. But I did not speak up because, well have you seen the price of arugula at Whole Foods?

Finally, they came for the mixed spring greens. And no one would speak up to tell me there was a piece stuck in my teeth.

monkingaround said...

Lettuce Alone!

Nora said...

By the same criterion all organic farming is selfish: it takes more land to produce the same crops, uses non-biodegradable pesticide that their long term impact is not known because the research in the area is virtually non-existant, and all this in absence of any substantial avidence of its benefits to the humans, except as a massage for the ego of some of intelligentsia.

As for attempts at predicting the the future, it science fiction light.

Original Mike said...

That's nothing, Freeman. My refrigerator has a light bulb inside.

Eat your heart out.

Sofa King said...

Eat your heart out.

You know what would go great with that?

Lettuce...

Paul said...

Besides texture, another reason iceberg lettuce is so popular is that it's one of the best sources for intestinal flora. I bet our ancestors noticed a correlation between consumption of lettuce and improved digestion long before anyone was aware of the vitamin content of foods, or even the existence of vitamins for that matter.

reader_iam said...

For roughage, let us always eat our lettuce.

My grandma used to say something like that.

Jason said...

It's not easy, being green.

ruddyturnstone said...

What a crock!

First of all, iceberg lettuce is good. That's why people buy eat, and eat it. It has a great, crunchy texture. Which makes it pretty much unique among lettuces. It's true, it doesn't have a lot of flavor, but,that's what the other things (the tomatos, the cukes, the onions, the dressing, the croutons, the other kinds of luttuce, etc.) in the salad are for. Also, icebrrg lettuce, when served cold, is refreshing in a way that other lettuces are not. It's a cool, crunchy, refreshing vegetable. Like the Coca Cola slurpy of vegetables!

As for the rest of it, whatever. So, the menu pops up on a "console" rather than being printed in some bullshit, faux trendy restauarant in Japan? Who gives a shit? Most people, and most restuarants, will continue to have real, printed menus. Why? Because they makes more sense, are easier to use, and like iceberg lettuce, are actually a good thing.

And, no, fast food joints will not "profile" their customers based on their make and model of car, just to save a few seconds. Why not? Because it won't work, and, even if it did, it wouldn't be worth it.

Let's say you drive a candy ass eco-freindly car, that means, according to the profile, that you will be statistically more likely to order a salad. So what? Probabilities really don't enter into it. You either are ordering a salad, or you're not. If you are, it only takes 10 seconds to take one out of the cool area where they are stored and bring it the pick up window. It's not like they make the salads fresh. If you're not getting a salad, then time will actually be wasted getting it, when you don't want it. Also, duh, there are more than one kind of salad. How will the car you drive indicate that you want salad X instead of salad Y? It won't. So, which one does the worker get?

And, even if all of that could be overcome, what would be the savings? Two seconds? The car Volvo pulls up, the computer profile says they will probably want a salad, the worker manages to guess which one and brings it the pick up window, so the whole thing takes 8 seconds. Whereas, if they had waited for the person to actually order the salad it would take 10 seconds? Those 2 seconds are not what matters in getting food orders fast and right, as anyone who has ever worked in a fast food joint, or, really, anyone who has paid even minimally close attention to how a fast food joint works, would know. Leaving aside, of course, the inevitable situation when the computer is "down" or malfunctioning and the profiling just adds to the problem.

People are always trying to find ways that computers (which, don't get me wrong, have their uses and are great at what they do) can do this or that thing which they are, in fact, quite useless at, or even worse, counterproductive.