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César Chávez was right: boycott lettuce

Lettuce is without a doubt the most pointless vegetable on God's Green Earth, and yet it's omnipresent on sandwiches. Why? Who put the sandwich artists up to this? Does anyone actually like lettuce? No, it's there as a filler, and everyone knows it.

I'm not anti-lettuce in every context. In salad, it's perfectly fine, some might argue essential, even. A crisp, curled leaf of Iceberg is welcome on a cheeseburger — it serves as a refreshing contrast to the hot drippiness of the thing. But a pile of shredded lettuce thrown onto my egg salad hero? No, it's unwelcome, as it is on any cold deli sandwich. Regardless, lettuce is assumed to be part of any default sandy, along with tomatoes and mayo.

When I order my standard "whatever sandwich with tomatoes and mustard," half the delicatessens question me. "You want lettuce?" they ask. No. A thousand times no. They never ask why not, and sometimes they add it anyway, as a certain Greenpoint sandwich artist who shares my first name did tonight.

I fail to understand lettuce's role in modern sandwichdom, outside of being a cost-saving measure in its replacement of tastier, more expensive fillings. I suspect its ubiquity is due to foul play on the part of Big Lettuce — the leafy fat cats who once opposed César Chávez, a national hero.

Ladies and/or gentleman: do the right thing. The next time you get a sandwich, skip the lettuce. You'll save the sandwich artist time and you'll realize you don't even miss it. Explore other, better vegetables while you're at it, such as spinach or green peppers. In the words of the mortal but still historically important César Chávez: "The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about people." Think about it.


Unknown said…
Sometimes I like a little lettuce for the crunch factor it can provide. For me, it started with the sandwich's Mexican cousin, the burrito. I was standing in line at Chipotle trying to figure how to give my burrito a little more crunch. The solution? Lettuce. It worked. Now, I don't put lettuce on my tacos, and I rarely put lettuce on my sandwiches (especially at a deli whose meats, cheeses, and bread I know and trust), but sometimes I've just got to have that cool, crisp, crunchiness that a nice layer of iceberg can provide.
Alex Headrick said…
I can respect that. That cool crunch is the main thing lettuce has going for it. Strangely enough, my whole anti-lettuce kick started at Chipotle. I got sick of it taking up my chicken/bean/cheese real estate.
Alex said…
The worst kind of lettuce for me is the real shredded stuff that gets everywhere and you can't pick it out! :) I always ask to skip the lettuce...and hope that the people taking my order listen to me.

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