If I were Catholic, I would go to confession for this. But since I’m agnostic, I’ll tell a blog. Here goes: I judge a person by their choice of lettuce. I know. Big whoop. It’s not like I hacked someone up with a chainsaw and ate their liver with a nice chianti or something. But still, it’s admitting that I am judgmental about people and their salads to the point of being deeply shallow, not to mention, a curmudgeon. I am a shallowmudgeon.
This personality flaw started with my disdain for iceberg lettuce. Sure, I grew up on it, but I also grew out of it. And once I did, my palate never looked back. So I have come up with a top 10 lettuce hierarchy that labels lettuce eaters and their salads. From worst to best:
Icebergers are the Walmart shoppers of lettuce. Without pigmentation and comprised mostly of water, iceberg offers absolutely no nutritional value. Ignorant Icebergers proudly applaud themselves for eating a salad. And the real tragedy is that a bottle of Kraft Thousand Island dressing is never far away. Can you say phy-to-nu-tri-ent? I know you can say NAS-CAR.
Waldorf Walmart Salad
Extremely style conscious, Butter eaters are the designer shoppers of lettuce. They like its dainty appearance, but don't care that it lacks substance. Like iceberg, butter lettuce is pale and short on phytonutrients. And apparently butter eaters are not concerned about their cholesterol either. Jimmy Chew Salad
Romainians are the Costco shoppers of lettuce. While supposedly high in nutrients, romaine is a little predictable. The hearts get props for their crunch, but then so do Cheetos. Romainians need to go out of their comfort zones once in a while. A trip to Sam’s Club might be in order. Club Salad
7. Green Leaf
Green Leafers are the basic cable subscribers of lettuce. With a deeper color and a leaf that allows vinaigrette to easily adhere to, it's a good all-around lettuce, yet there isn’t enough color variety or bite to put Green Leafers up there with the premium channels. CNN Salad
6. Red Leaf
Red Leafers are the premium cable subscribers of lettuce. Since the dark red offers antioxidants and visual appeal, they have more to offer. Showtime Salad
5. Packaged Salad Mix
Packaged Salad Mixers are the Trader Joe’s shoppers of lettuce. Though they show both aesthetic and nutritional initiative, these lazy sophisticates are nonetheless buying a commercial product that contains unhealthy levels of bacteria and a large carbon footprint. Couch Potato Salad with Dijon Shallot Vinaigrette
4. Farmer’s Market Salad Mix
Farmer’s Market Salad Mixers are the Michael Pollans of lettuce. More eco-conscious than Packaged Salad Mixers, they are to be applauded for their good taste and ethical eating standards. But unless they assemble the varieties themselves, they are still a notch away from being salad gods. Green Salad
3. Red Oak
Red Oakies are the Martha Stewarts of lettuce. With its ornate variegated design, rich colors and textural diversity, red oak is both nutritionally and aesthetically savvy. Red Oakies are culinary prima donnas who wouldn't be caught dead buying lettuce in a grocery store. Hamptons Salad
Arugulars are the Dennis Kuciniches of lettuce. They are nutritional truthseekers who are unwilling to compromise (except when being strong-armed on health care). When their bodies tell them they need potent, peppery greens, these purists oblige with gospel-like fervor. Raw Salad
1. Tailor-Made Salad Mix
Tailor-Made Salad Mixers are the Alice Waters of lettuce. Buying their own individual heads of frisee, endive, lollo rossa, mache, mizuna, radicchio, tat soi and others on this list, they are truly accomplished saladeers. And if they grow their own in a sustainable, gastronomically correct way, they are salad gods. But who has 40 acres and a walk-in refrigerator? Chef Salad
What lettuce type are you?