Click HERE to read a story from the Brothers Grimm about the transforming power of lettuce...hee haw!
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Lettuces and Greens
More can be found under specific entries, but here's a useful way to categorize and think about these wide-ranging greens:
Lettuces (Lactuca sativa):Native to the Mediterranean and the Mideast, lettuces are plants of great age. We know, anyway, that they were cultivated in the royal gardens of the Persian kings as long ago as 2,500 years. It got its name from its milky sap--and, by association, was supposed to benefit lactating mothers who needed rich milk to feed their babies. Then, according to George Lang, in his Compendium of Culinary Nonsense and Trivia, "the ancient Greeks served lettuce soup at the end of a meal because it was supposed to be sleep-inducing. And Emperor Domitian purposely served lettuce at the beginning of state dinners, hoping to torture all guests who, of course, couldn't fall asleep in from of their Imperial Majesty." Likewise, when Beatrix Potter's Flopsy Bunnies eat lots of shot lettuce, it was "so soporific" that they fell deeply asleep and did not wake when arch enemy Mr. MacGregor found them and poured grass shavings on them. And, too, my favorite childhood story, certainly, was Rapunzel, which turned on a question of lettuces, as you shall see:
There are 4 separate categories of this seductive leaf:
Condiment Greens, on the bitter sideThese include:
Gourmet GreensThese include: