Saturday night I went with *h to the grocery store. Among the rows of beautiful produce I saw something which gave me such pause I actually had to call over *h to take a look: something called living lettuce, priced several dollars per head above a regular head of lettuce!
What was so great about this lettuce? What was so full of life-i-ness? So full of implied nutritional bounty that it merited extra hoopla, extra shelf-space, and extra extra extra price?
It had a clump of dirt and some roots attached to the bottom of it.
Now, I’m no soil expert, no botanist, and no master gardener, but I can tell you this with a fair amount of certainty: once a vegetable has been picked and it cut off from its life source (meaning the ground from which it receives nutrients), it is dead. And since the sun does not shine in the produce aisle, and no hydroponic waters flow into the plastic in which the lettuce is encased, that expensive lettuce was anything but living.
A dead dirty root ball does not a living vegetable make, but that didn’t seem to deter the grocery store from thinking there is a willing customer base for this exotic item. Now, I feel like I don’t need to tell any of you this, but it should be rather obvious that *h and I don’t exactly shop at upscale places. It’s not like we were on 5th Avenue at some boutique-y shoppe that caters to the elitist eaters on the planet. So who the heck is paying multiple times the cost of a single lettuce for the privilege of eating one with dirt on it?
I wonder, is this some new yuppie craze or do I really just not leave the house enough? Do people actually believe this food is somehow more nutritious? Here I should probably also insert the fact that this was iceberg lettuce, probably the least nutritious substance known to produce, so much so that I almost feel like it should be located next to marshmallows in order of bang for your food buck. Iceberg (which I think is yummy, by the way) is so poor a food that when we had a buuny we were warned not to give it iceberg since it contained approximately 0% nutrients, and when we had chickens, we were told the only reason to give it to them was to provide extra water. Humph- that’s “food” for thought…
But back to my grocery store rant. At a time when more of food is getting plasticy-er and faker, you would think that at least veggies might be safe. Or at least that if you go to the trouble to really try to suss out something with some value to it that you would be rewarded for your efforts. But for all of you who want to live large by eating (possibly/probably pesticide-laden?) dirt, here’s a thought: buy regularly priced produce and take it home and smear some of your own dirt on it. It’s cheaper that way, and probably just as healthy for you. And that way you won’t have to pay extra for the packaging.
Just a thought.