Burns My Bacon: Hey Hey, Ho Ho, That Lettuce Leaf Has Got To Go


I’m an appetizer kinda guy. There is nothing more satisfying than ordering a couple of apps instead of an entree; the variety alone makes the trip worth it. However, there are many downfalls in ordering apps. The quality can be somewhat diminished: fried and often just thrown on a plate without much thought. Despite that, bar apps are my favourite, especially potato skins, nachos and chicken tenders. All deliciously fattening!

My biggest gripe with appetizer dishes is the presentation, mainly lettuce. Why does the kitchen feel the need to serve my chicken, potato skins, guacamole, shrimp…On a bed of lettuce? This makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever. If there is a reason for this please enlighten me, but for the time being I’m going to bitch…

Hey Hey, Ho Ho, That Lettuce Leaf Has Got To Go

1. It doesn’t look all that appealing. The lettuce, for the most part, always seems to be wilted, never crisp, clearly not worthy of being used as an ingredient in a meal. It just doesn’t look pretty.

2. The lettuce inhibits full value for money. If I have a plate of chicken wings  served on a bed of lettuce it prevents me from scooping up all the sauce. This is especially frustrating with guacamole.

3. It’s a waste of food. I don’t think there has ever been a time when I have eaten the lettuce. Think of all the restaurants around the country who do this, that is some serious lettuce wastage. Granted, lettuce isn’t the most tasty of greens but still, such a waste.


If you can supplement my bitch list please leave those in the comments.

Restaurants of the world, take note. It’s not pretty, it’s not tasty and it’s wasteful. Do us all a favour and skip out on the lettuce — a nice clean plate will suffice.

That’s all.

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  • JoeHoya January 12, 2010  

    I think your pictures answer the question for you, Brit. Bar food like wings and skins are usually messy and/or greasy when they’re served. The lettuce addresses both the aesthetic problems (check out those blobs of grease and sauce on the stark white plate in your photos and tell me that’s more appealing) and the functional issues (greasy food items are a lot less likely to slide right off a lettuce leaf’s irregular surface than a smooth, flat plate).

    In Kansas City Barbecue Society competitions, several kinds of lettuce are approved as acceptable garnishes. They serve the same purposes – covering up the spots and splatters and allowing the contestants to turn in an aesthetically pleasing plate of food.

  • BS January 12, 2010  

    I’m with you Brit, food should be used for eating, not covering up splatters. and guacamole in lettuce is completely, brain-shatteringly unacceptable.

  • Britannia January 12, 2010  

    JoeHoya, I respect where you are coming from and see that side of the plate, however you argument only addresses greasy foods such as wings etc. There is no excuse for guacamole, shrimp or even at brunch when you get a small bowl with fresh fruit in it, over lettuce. There is just no excuse.

  • Sushi January 12, 2010  

    Here, here!

    I totally agree.

  • offthemeathook January 12, 2010  

    SO TRUE. if you get a bagel at my local cafe (which I otherwise love), they put a scoop of cream cheese on a giant piece of wilty lettuce on your plate w/ your toasted bagel. It annoys me every time because it makes the bagel seem less appetizing when I have to scrape cream cheese off of a lettuce leaf to put it on my bagel. I’m kind of a regular there, I think I might tell them to cut it out already.

  • PrixFixeOnline January 12, 2010  

    You do realize that the cost of that garnish is figured into the price of the dish right? So it’s not a waste, you’re the one paying for it. While I agree there are other ways to garnish, it’s not something you’re going to be able to escape anytime soon.

  • PrixFixeOnline January 12, 2010  

    …oh and to add even if you ask them to hold the lettuce, they’re not going to bring down the price of the app – like I said – it’s all figured into the price of the dish anyways.

  • Alex January 12, 2010  

    The lettuce is always SO GROSS!! It’s all wilty and disgusting! Give me wings in a freaking basket, if you’re so worried about them sliding off the plate! I am staunchly anti-lettuce and no one is going to convince me otherwise. Hear, hear, Britannia!

  • Britannia January 12, 2010  

    @PrixFixeOnline, I’m glad you followed up with the price mention, you are right, I’m not going to get 5c or whatever knocked off the cost of my dish if I request it to be removed.

    I do think our interpretations of waste are different, just because the lettuce is built into the cost of the dish doesn’t make it not wasteful, the finished plate of wings will go back with the lettuce on the plate, thus making the lettuce a wasted product, to me, it did not serve a purpose so I consider it waste. I’d like to think that a kitchen takes note of this, I assume on more occasions than not, and consider presenting the wings in another fashion. But clearly not.

  • erica January 12, 2010  

    um… just a thought… the lettuce may be wilted because super hot foods were placed on it. i’m not judging the lettuce or condoning it, just saying, i doubt they get their grossest lettuce out for this purpose. you guys.

  • erica January 12, 2010  

    then again, i usually eat the lettuce, AND ESPECIALLY the piece of parsley.

  • Britannia January 13, 2010  

    @erica- good point, but how do you explain wilted lettuce underneath cold guacamole, and in my office yesterday there was lettuce disgustingly placed underneath a cold couscous. I wish I’d taken a picture.

    As you can see, I’m passionate about this.

  • erica January 13, 2010  

    i have to think the lettuce is just another useless norm akin to those tissue thin paper covers for toilet seats. sadly, you cannot make a cowboy hat from a piece of lettuce. at least, not as easily.

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