A Long Last Look at Lettuce


This is it: the last of the lettuce. If I’m lucky, I’ll see a fresh vegetable of some kind again in four weeks.

As I look at it there in the bowl, I find myself thinking for the first time that lettuce is kind of amazing. First, it’s actually pretty cool-looking. At the edges, it resembles the ruffled skin of some old elephant or the feathers of a very young bird. Near its heart, it resembles a frilly green razor.

Second, this substance, which is more than 95 percent water and has almost no calories, is, somehow, DELICIOUS. It doesn’t taste like much in and of itself, but the experience of eating it allows you to ingest something unique, something that I won’t again for a good long while: crisp greenness, a sort of mellow sweet juiciness. Even crappy lettuce in almost-expired, store-bought salads can have that crunchy, off-white flavor, but nothing except lettuce, and other fresh vegetables, ever can.

I wouldn’t have said any of this a month ago. I probably would have said, “Yeah, sure. Lettuce is… fine. With other stuff.” Right now, I don’t want to let anything else near it. It’s too amazing as it is.

After a few bites, something seemed off. It wasn’t the lettuce — which, outrageously and inexplicably, continued to blow my mind. Rather, it was the solitude of the poor little plant. After all, sMars aside, how often do you find yourself just munching down on the lettuce? Not often enough, to be sure, but lettuce also serves a greater purpose.

I decided that the more fitting tribute was to put the last few pieces on our space food, so that we can remember the peerless contribution that fresh green veggies make to our lives. So I give you the —> Read More