Why Must We Be Subjected to Iceberg Lettuce?

I just want a salad. Is that so wrong?

But the options are caesar, which I don’t trust unless it’s at a fancy restaurant, and house, which means iceberg lettuce, two cherry tomatoes, one cucumber slice, two rounds of red onions, and five croutons.

Why do they ration the vegetables? It’s not wartime (Well, it is, sorta, but you know what I mean). This isn’t Cold War OR post-Cold-War Russia. We can manage, say, TWO cucumber slices. This is the United States of America, after all.

By the way, has anyone ever successfully forked a crouton that comes on a iceberg-lettuce-salad? They’re particularly rigid, aren’t they? Yet not stale, and also not actually flavored. So why are they even there? To give us an upper body workout while eating vegetables? (If we can call an iceberg-lettuce-salad with two cherry tomatoes, one cucumber slice, and two rounds of red onions “vegetables.”)

Another question: did all of the mediocre restaurants get together and agree on the parameters of the iceberg-lettuce-salad? Is there a league? Did they confer at a convention, where someone with a gavel moderated the debate? Were there PowerPoint slides outlining the pros and cons of cherry tomatoes vs heirloom (you see, you don’t have chop cherry tomatoes)? Did someone in fact pose two cucumber slices and they were yelled at for being flashy?

In a world that has bumper stickers declaring love for kale, how can iceberg lettuce even still exist? Haven’t we as a society evolved? I mean, there’s sushi at the mall food court! Logic would dictate that its presence would eliminate iceberg lettuce based on the progression of mainstream tastes.

Iceberg lettuce is the reason kids don’t want to eat their vegetables. It’s flavorless, has the consistency of a soggy potato chip, and often is white instead of green, which is scary. Fancy restaurants never serve pears and roasted pecans with iceberg lettuce. There’s no goat cheese and cranberries with iceberg lettuce. There’s no… some other combination of froo froo things with iceberg lettuce.

So listen up mid-priced, mediocre restaurants of America: You can serve your fried food–sometimes I partake; I’m human, and I’m traveling. You can serve your poorly flavored sauces and claim that they’re Italian/Thai/Indian/Greek. You can serve bread bought from a store instead of a bakery. Just please, please, don’t serve iceberg lettuce anymore.


What food bores you enough to write a rant?

11 Responses

I’m supposed to be sleeping, but I find your blog charming and amusing, so I’m sitting at my desk reading it instead. As I read this post, I realized it was about every “house” salad I’ve ever eaten at a “passable” restaurant. One problem with iceberg lettuce is that it demands to be made more interesting by something overly caloric, like even just “passable” blue cheese dressing. And, I am so happy to learn that it’s not just me who can’t figure out how to eat those dry, overly dense croutons they throw on top. One technique is to allow them to marinate in the excess salad dressing until they are soft enough to spear. But, why do I always forget to tell them “no onions”? It’s a house salad for crissake, of course it’s going to have purple onion rounds The flip side, is that if you’re really tired and really hungry, you don’t have to worry about what you’re ordering. You know your house salad in all it’s iceberg lettuce glory will be like all the other ones you’ve ever consumed.

so happy you turn to my blog when you can’t sleep. I think!


Sing it sister. Iceberg is the reason I stopped including lettuce in salads until I discovered the benefit of the real greens. I don’t understand wedge salads either. They are like pet rocks … not hard to create and yet everyone wants one. I love marketing (as I pet my pet rock Shirley)

astute observation kind sir!


Best description (and plea for help) ever about the ubiquitous green hunk! Thanks for laugh-out-loud perspective.

Your next trip should be to us here in Israel – we have the most amazing array of salads – and very little iceberg lettuce! So, just let us know when to expect you.

Touche! Israeli hummus…heavenly.


I could not agree more! Iceberg lettuce is also top of my list in wanting to rant. The nutritional value is terrible and I agree with the other comment about it begging to be smothered in a high calorie something to make it worth eating. The mandatory croutons are just stale crappy excuses for garnish.
Now, what is wrong with caesar? Is it the fear that they are using raw eggs? If so, I believe that only the nicer places do that and they use eggs that can be eaten raw. The average place is not going to add them- too risky. If you are worried you can always ask, but even a little salmonella might be tastier than the iceberg salad…

Cori – the issue with Caesar is a bit of the egg; but mostly that the dressing will be gloppy. But good point, as always, that salmonella is tastier than iceberg.


O.K., my pet peeve is too much salt. Good, plain food gets routinely clobbered by a heavy hand in the kitchen. I’m not a fanatic about salt; I like salt on my popcorn, pretzels, chips, just like the rest of America. But when the taste of the food is fighting to get through the salt, well, it’s just . . . Disappointing.

good point; food is not worth its weight in salt.

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