Iceberg?

A couple of my co-workers were really excited to try the iceberg salad wedge at a local restaurant. I don’t get it. In my opinion, iceberg is a bland, pointless form of lettuce that I’m always disappointed to discover on my plate.

Texture, they claim, is the big draw; flavor is made up for by adding blue cheese dressing, hard boiled eggs, onions, cucumbers….

But wouldn’t those ingredients be better with a form of lettuce that has a bit of zip to it? I mean, there are so many varieties of lettuce out there: arugula, bibb, mustard greens, radish greens, spinach, radicchio, red leaf, green leaf, oak (not the actual tree; the lettuce that resembles that leaf), turnip greens… and those are just the ones I can name off the top of my head in 45 seconds. So why iceberg?

If you haven’t noticed, I’m feeling crotchety today. All the same, I wonder if someone can provide me with a more compelling reason for iceberg than that it has a bit of a crunch. As far as I’m concerned, if you want crunch in your salad, add some carrots. At least they carry flavor with them.

15 Responses to “Iceberg?”

  1. courtney Says:

    I think alot of people grow up on iceberg and just don’t know any different.

    My inlaws only use iceberg, and that is the reason why I never take them up on their offer to bring “not even a salad” when we have them over for dinner.

    On the other hand, my step family doesn’t like the “strong bitter” flavor of some of the greens you get at nicer restaurants, so they stick to romaine.

    The only time I like Iceberg is on sandwhiches I can’t stomache mayo, and don’t care for mustard unless it is cooked in something. In that case the iceberg gives the sandwhich a little needed moisture to prevent it from being too dry.

  2. edenz Says:

    I agree with you 1000%. I can’t stand iceburg. And it’s not a salad if if doesn’t have at least 3 different vegetables.

  3. Johanna Says:

    so, were they impressed with the iceberg salad?

  4. justin Says:

    i’ve got nothing against iceberg, though it’s not my preference. i’m not sure what i like about it though..maybe it occasionally prevents me from chugging salad dressing right out of the bottle- an innocuous vessel to help fulfill my craving for raw, unadulterated dressing, while maintaining my dignity. in other words, an edible spoon.

  5. Cortney Says:

    Other reasons for eating iceberg lettuce: Fiber (cellulose) and water.

  6. jwsharrard Says:

    Yeah, but you get fiber and water from the other greens, too.

  7. V Says:

    I have no sense of smell and that impacts my sense of taste. As a result, texture and mouth feel is as important as taste.

    While I do eat iceberg lettuce, It’s only the inner bits due to the texture and the crunch followed by a rush of moisture. (The outer leaves don’t have that property.) If I want a salad, I go for the darker greens because they have better nutrition and are something I can taste.

    As for why people get excited about a wedge of iceberg, I’d have to say it’s for the novelty. No one else can say “Here, have a chunk of salad.”

  8. Betty Says:

    What surprises me most about this phenomenon is that people are willing to spend between $4-$11 for a quarter head of substandard lettuce with some blue cheese dressing and bacon crumbles.

  9. serge Says:

    I feel the same way about white mushrooms. Nowadays, they’re not even that much cheaper than other types, types that actually have flavor.

  10. Kitarra Says:

    I have banned iceberg lettuce from my house. Other than fiber it provides so little nutrients and flavor! I love salads but I much prefer to use dark leafy greens. They have iron they are good for you and they taste fantastic.

  11. Jim Says:

    From Harvard School of Public Health website:

    Iceberg lettuce has very little nutritional value; it is mostly water and a small amount of fiber. Vegetables that are better for you tend to be richer in color. For example, compare iceberg lettuce to spinach; spinach is better for you since it is rich in iron and folate. Compare white potato to sweet potato; sweet potato is better for you since it is rich in beta carotene and other vitamins.

    Notice the “small amount” above.

  12. threemilechild Says:

    I really like the flavour of iceberg lettuce, whether by itself (sweet, juicy, delicious!) or in a salad or even as a crunchy, cool topping for a nice spicy enchilada. I’ve never found it bland; I’ve wondered if maybe this was an example of some people being sensitive to chemicals in it that others are not.

  13. Sara Cheney Says:

    I happened upon this blog entry while looking up the fiber content of iceberg lettuce.
    I like it because it’s good, has a nice texture, usually comes prebagged with carrots and because it’s the cheapest!

  14. jwsharrard Says:

    Sometimes cheapest is OK, but when it comes to food, it’s often the case that you get what you pay for–in the case of iceberg, least flavor, least nutrition, least quality.

    As far as pre-bagged lettuces go, I avoid them like a dollar store fruitcake—there’s no way to check them for freshness; chances are they’ve been shipped across the country; and because they’re processed in central locations, if there is a bacterially tainted green (think bagged spinach a year or two back), chances are it’s pre-bagged.

  15. Alysn Says:

    I expect most of the folks who like it do so because it is an excuse to consume the flavors of the dressings while still feeling as though they are consuming a ‘healthy’ salad. Its’ flavor, while present, is innocuous enough to stay in the background, allowing the flavor of the dressing to b primary.

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