Monday, June 14, 2010

In defense of iceberg lettuce and fruitcake

I like 'em both. I do! And I think they've both gotten a bum rap.

Iceberg lettuce is as valid a kind of lettuce as any other, as far as I'm concerned, and in some ways is even better. For instance, baby greens, which are all the rage, are often limp. Iceberg lettuce, on the other hand, is almost always (when properly served) crisp and crunchy. And sweet. Radicchio, which also turns up in a lot of fancy salads, is crunchy but downright bitter and I never understand why people choose to eat it. Spinach, even baby spinach, often has a bizzare chalky aftertaste, which iceberg lettuce does not: it leaves a clean palate. The best part of romaine lettuce is the inner part which, when you think about it, really is just like iceberg lettuce, but to get it, you have to take all the rest of the head of romaine with it, so why not just buy iceberg?

I do understand that iceberg lettuce, like celery, is mostly water and fibre, with almost no nutrients (minerals or vitamins). But that doesn't mean we can't use it in a salad or sandwich as a complement or backdrop to foods that do provide those things. And fibre alone isn't such a bad thing - heck, people take fibre supplements, when they could have a sweet, crisp iceberg-based salad instead.

And fruitcake. I know it's easy - and popular - to make fun of this heavyweight dessert (as at the annual Manitou Springs Fruitcake Toss), but that doesn't make it any less yummy. Of course, I've been spoiled: my parents used to make their own rich, dark fruitcake every year (they even made my wedding cake out of it), and my parents-in-law now send us a large home-baked cake every year. So I've never had to settle for store-bought fruitcake. What I'm used to is basically nuts and candied fruits glued together by the smallest amount of rum-laced cake possible. It's moist and full of flavour, with just enough "tooth." (By "tooth" I mean the sensation when you bite into something that gives a little resistance, such as a nut.) What's not to love?

There are undoubtedly other foods that I like that most people don't - Brussels sprouts come to mind - but they are not as maligned as iceberg lettuce and fruitcake are, so I don't feel as defensive about them.

So what are your secret food fetishes? (Not the kinky kind, please!) What foods do you love that make other people say, "Ick"?


  1. Broccoli! I could eat bowls of it for every meal. And asparagus. Yummm.

    - Melissa Neelin :)

  2. I like broccoli too - raw, steamed or in soup.

    I also like tapioca pudding, which lots of people HATE.


What did you think? Any comments?

Related Posts

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...