Sunday, July 08, 2007

League of Lettuce

It was Freddie who came up with the idea for a League of Lettuce. We were confronted with too much choice at the supermarket. “Let’s put them into divisions like in football”, he suggested. So this is how the Lettuce League Tables were established. There are four main lettuce types which sound like they have come straight out of the civil war: the Crisphead, the Butterhead, the Looseleaf and the Cos or Romaine. Each group shares characteristics in texture or taste. And within each group there are hundreds of varieties. Alex and Freddie picked the lettuce teams: Little Gem, Round, Batavia, Green Oak Leaf, Iceberg, Frisee, Romaine and Butterhead Red. We came home on the bus with bags stuffed full of lettuces. In the the eight months since starting the Vegetable Challenge, Freddie has been growing into the role of Taste Explorer: the Marco Polo of the vegetable world. But he has a blind spot with salad. He can't see the point of it.
Back at home and Alex and Freddie made team labels, arranged tasting plates and score sheets. Marks out of five were awarded for each lettuce based on taste and texture. Crunch was analysed, softness of leaf debated and flavour argued over.
And so after much deliberation the Raw Lettuce Table was announced. Little Gem was the winner, closely followed by the premier league of Round and Batavia. Freddie asked for the Butterhead Red to be relegated. What he hadn't realised was that he had unwittingly eaten a salad - without any need for bribes or subterfuge.
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  1. Freddie -- what a wonderful and fun idea!

  2. Hi Freddie, Alex and Charlotte
    Loved reading all about your lettuce league - it looks like so much fun!

  3. Charlotte,

    I've nominated you for a 'Bloggers for Positive Global Change' award. Check out my blog post today for the details.

    Ed Bruske

  4. I LOVE it!! Well done. What a neat Idea - you could do this with other stuff too. How cool.

  5. Hooray to the humble Little Gem - my favourite! Hope you ate the bitter innards? What a top idea Freddie, combining your love of footy with food. My two favourite subjects too (although I bet you aren't a Newcastle fan like me?).


  6. You're right in the zone Freddie - the Royal Horticultural Society will be taste testing salad leaves and the results wil be in the September issue of The Garden magazine.

    My favourite lettuces are Black Seeded Samara and Bronze Arrowhead. (I love the names as well as the flavours)


  7. You genious and sneak.

  8. What a fabulously fun way to eat lettuce. Your ideas are inspirational.I love reading your posts.
    Sara from farmingfriends

  9. TopVeg10:18 AM

    Hi Freddie, Alex and Charlotte,

    This is just what the readers of TopVeg are after - a definitive list of lettuce. Thank you for organising this - we trust the results, knowing that we would give Little Gem the top position too!

    Must give a plug for the Iron (Scunthorpe United) who are on their way to the top!

    Thanks again for your great work


  10. schmoof2:51 PM

    Thai lettuce wraps! Minced pork with thai seasonings (a touch of chilli, ginger, garlic, sugar, lime juice, fish sauce) with some cellophane noodles, served in lettuce wrap parcels - good messy fun.

  11. Anonymous5:15 PM

    I stumbled on this blog and really enjoy it. I encourage you to turn this vegetable alphabet eating into a book. I only wish I had the "ins" for you to find a publisher.

  12. this is such a good idea! i was thinking of doing something similar with mushrooms . . .

  13. I was talking about salad and lettuce the other day to a friend. I wouldn't touch the stuff when I was a kid (wouldn't eat vegetables either) and it's only in recent years that I've realised it's not salad I hate. It's butterhead and iceberg lettuce (and cucumber, foul stuff that it is!). And when I was a kid iceberg lettuce was the posh, exotic one you bought when you were sick of the other one. And a salad consisted of lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes. So glad it's now possible to get lots of different types of salad.

  14. TopVeg5:03 PM


    We have taken up your suggestion to open up your research to the masses & are compling a Raw Lettuce Table on

    All your readers are welcome to add their marks for each lettuce team.

  15. Hi GBVC,
    I have grown little gem lettuce with my school gardening club and thought that I would get them to taste test shop bought little gem and their school grown little gem. At the same time I will do the league of lettuce tasting with the children. can't wait for Tuesday now. Thanks for the inspiration.
    Sara from farmingfriends

  16. Sara
    Great - tell us how you get on.

  17. Hi Charlotte,
    The league of lettuce tasting went well at my school today and the children thoroughly enjoyed trying the lettuce. Some of the children wolfed the lettuce down!
    I am collating the results at the moment and will get back to you with confirmation of the overall winner. Thanks again for the inspiration - I will certainly be doing this activity again.
    Sara from farmingfriends

  18. Hi Charlotte, Freddie and Alexandra,
    Here are my gardening clubs results as follows;
    Eleanor’s favourite is Cos or Crisphead,
    Kirsty’s favourite is Cos,
    Jessica’s favourite is Butterhead,
    Caitlyn’s favourite is Romaine,
    Isabella’s favourite is Crisphead,
    Rachel’s favourite is Crisphead or Romaine,
    Lois’ favourite is Crisphead,
    Amy’s favourite is Crisphead or Butterhead,
    Jessica’s favourite is Romaine,
    Jordan’s favourite is Cos or Crisphead,
    My favourite is Romaine.
    The overall winner on taste and texture was Romaine which got 78 out of 110 points.
    The children thoroughly enjoyed taking part in this tasting session. Thanks for the inspiration.
    Sara from farmingfriends

  19. Romaine - the queen of lettuce then ? I feel the debate should continue. Thank you for trying out the taste challenge!
    Charlotte and Freddie


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