Let's laud lettuce
Lettuce has a long and interesting history. The Egyptian god of fertility Min indulged on its the milky sap.
The Greek learned to cultivate it from the Egyptians. In their mythology Adonis, Aphrodite’s lover, falls dead on a bed of lettuce. The vegetables so became symbol of male impotence and funerals.
The Romans reintroduced the fertility aspect. And gave us the name we use today: lactuca. Apart enhancing sexual potency they attributed improved digestion and sleep to the eating.
When introduced in Britain, women believed it caused barrenness. So it goes.
What kind of lettuce
There is a myriad of lettuces on the market. And even more growing uncultivated. Much effort went in making lettuce less bitter.
Lettuces are prone to fads. Argula (rocket) succeeded baby spinach. Iceberg replaced leaf and romaine lettuce. Radicchio and endive slowly but steadily became super-salad leaves.
There is a simple rule of thumb when choosing what lettuce to buy. Go for the local version. It is fresh and costs less.
Fast and furious
Among the countless pasta preparations, the one with lettuce deserves some special attention. Some add tender leaves to boil with the pasta. Other sauté it with an onion. Much depends on the kind of lettuce you will be using. From rather bitter -radicchio- to sweet -spinach. Classic romaine gives the best result. In our humble opinion that is.
Use short pasta for this dish.
Variations on a theme
Pasta with endive is probably the easiest dish. Add your cut up endive to boiling water before adding pasta. Drain, add cheese and enjoy.
A recipe in honor of the Egyptian god Mi. This pesto combines three aphrodisiac ingredients. Lettuce, almonds and garlic. Whereas the recipe is easy, the result is overwhelming. And not just taste-wise. At least, so we’ve been told.
And for those who do not like garlic? The effect is less potent but still efficient.