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Lettuce in the Cage

My Grandmother was French. This means that when visiting her we were fed a lot of weird food. And I’m only saying that because I grew up in Poland (still very much behind the iron curtain at the time) where anything foreign was treated with the utmost suspicion. As a child I was a sucker for sweets and thus being presented with a plate of cheese for dessert was abominable!

One of the dishes that my Grandmother Irena cooked all the time for us was lettuce in vinaigrette. Being a terribly fussy child I would not dare eat anything so leafy and green. But, I clearly remember, I had a very important task in making this rabbit food. Before I get to this, I must remind you that there was a time in human history where you could not get pre-packed and washed lettuce. In fact there was not even any other type of lettuce other than the round butterhead kind. And yes, you had to separate the leaves and then wash them under the tap one by one. Then came a super important task that was assigned to me. My Grandma had this special wire salad basket that I used to call a cage. She would put the wet lettuce leaves in it and I then had to go outside and swing it from left to right to get the water out. Needless to say, I felt very important being given this task, literally like the second in command in the kitchen…

Obviously I’m a little bit older than six now and my perception on lettuce has changed. Out of all the different types I actually love the round lettuce most. It is tender and mild, with the sweeter leaves at the centre. Shame you can only find it on the farmers markets or at the bigger supermarkets, because if I could get it in my local shop I would buy it and eat it every day, just as my Grandmother did!

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