Monday, September 28, 2009

Salad Surprise

I once found bugs in a head of lettuce I had purchased at a Parisian grocery store. As I started to tear apart the lettuce so it could be washed, there they were – tiny black crawling things that made me shriek and throw the leafy greens to the floor. “What are bugs doing in my lunch?!” I later learned from a Frenchman that bugs in the lettuce was a good sign. It meant the produce was high quality, since the bugs only like the best. I didn’t buy that, and from then on I scrupulously checked every single head of French lettuce for any sign of insect life before buying that either. All purchases were triple washed before consumption.

Belgium brought its own lettuce discovery, though, thankfully, this one did not include living creatures. After eying a beautiful looking head that seemed to be a perfect fit for the warm goat cheese salad I had in mind, I was surprised to discover it still had roots. It also still had soil. In fact, a perfectly square chunk of earth had been cut out of the ground along with the head of lettuce and put into a bag, ready to be sold as is. I have no idea what that’s all about, but the lettuce did indeed make a lovely base for what became a crave-worthy salade au chèvre chaud, sans dirt.

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