I think we’ve heard enough about politics for a lifetime. I know I have, so I think it’s important to talk about something totally different but almost as important ...
It was here, then gone. It was everywhere, then vanished off our plates.
I was always a big salad eater. Give me a pile of iceberg lettuce drenched in Thousand Island dressing and I was satisfied. Add red onion, bacon bits and boiled egg and I was delighted. I could easily make a meal of a salad. The all-important base to this delicious dish was lettuce ... real lettuce ... the only lettuce ... iceberg lettuce.
I miss it. Who took it and where did they put it? Why is it gone?
Finding a salad of iceberg lettuce these days is like searching for the Holy Grail. I know it exists, but for some reason, it’s now hidden away. Instead, we are left with what looks like inedible debris, discarded when weeding a garden. As if someone decided to keep the weeds and discard the produce, iceberg has disappeared. Thistle, twigs, and a little bark thrown in for texture has replaced the traditional lettuce. But weeds? That’s not a salad. And what is Kale anyway? Arugula schmugula! I wasn’t asked if I wanted it. One day I had a plate full of beautiful iceberg lettuce, and the next day, unattractive greens that taste worse than they look took its place. How do we reverse this trend? Who hatched this dastardly plot?
While lamenting the disappearance of my beloved iceberg lettuce, someone said, “It’s gone because it was nothing. Do you know iceberg lettuce has negative calories? It takes more calories to digest and burn them in our bodies than they provide!”
That’s a negative? Really? You mean by eating iceberg lettuce you can lose unwanted pounds without dieting? I thought most people ate salad because they wanted to lose weight. And if iceberg has negative calories, how does that make it bad? Doesn’t that make it a desired miracle food?
For me, iceberg is a tasteless delivery system that moved dressing from my plate into my mouth. It was there to add bulk and make me full, while transferring dressing, bacon, and other delightful treats onto my tongue. But now, I’m stuck with a bitter and fibrous mixture of unidentifiable leaves that add calories and interfere with the tastes that I love. You can’t pour enough dressing on this stuff to kill the bitter taste.
I can still buy iceberg in my produce department and do, but when dining out, I want iceberg.
So, tonight, I’m in Iowa City, Iowa for my cancer immunotherapy tomorrow at the Holden Cancer Center. Arlene and I stepped out to a restaurant that was highly recommended. There wasn’t much on the menu that caught my eye. I ordered a gyro sandwich. Normally it’s a lamb and beef combination with onion and tomato, covered in Tzatziki sauce on pita bread. It’s a simple sandwich that I think is hard to mess up ... but it happened. It came as a wrap that was stuffed full of various greens looking more like the above noted garden weeds. I had two bites and pushed it aside. It was awful. Like most unwanted vegetation, these weeds apparently are pervasive. They are spreading out of salads bowls and are becoming infested in sandwiches. What next? In our ice cream?
Someone must stop the madness before it’s too late.
I’ve learned in life that fads and styles come and go and are usually cyclical. If so, I’m eagerly awaiting the return of real lettuce. I’m hoping for the best. My fingers are crossed. Is it coming back? Will it ever?
I can only hope …
Gary W. Moore is a freelance columnist, speaker, and author of three books including the award-winning, critically acclaimed, “Playing with the Enemy.” Follow Gary on Twitter @GaryWMoore721 and at www.garywmoore.com