The Gaggle: Leaf me alone

An exploration of inner conflict over iceberg lettuce

Ian Roesler is a senior creative writing major and writes “The Gaggle” for The Daily News. His views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper.

Inner conflict. We all have it. For some, it’s as simple as whether or not to help an elderly person across the street. 

For me, though, inner conflict stems from something that keeps me up at night: Do I actually like iceberg lettuce?

Lettuce us begin with my possible reasons for liking it: It tastes pretty good on sub sandwiches and döner kebabs. 

Yeah, that’s about it. As for reasons for not liking iceberg lettuce, there are many more. 

First, on its own, it tastes like diet blandness. It has this indescribable taste that comes through no matter what dish it’s in. I find the blandness overpowers the other ingredients. It’s like taking a potato peeler, peeling off the outer layer of the tongue, cauterizing the wound and then biting into a piece of crumpled paper. Blandness beyond reason. There’s no worse thing a food can be other than bland except for maybe alive and squirming or covered in ketchup or ranch. 

Second, there are other and better-tasting lettuces. There’s good ol’ romaine, which is my favorite type of lettuce. Unlike the horrid iceberg lettuce, romaine actually has flavor and nutritional value. Some days, I love it more than life itself. 

Ordering a salad is always a gamble because sometimes they don’t specify what kind of lettuce. Nine times out of 10, it’s going to be iceberg. Imagine the horror of ordering a salad expecting romaine lettuce, but instead, it’s iceberg. It’s about as bad as getting a paper cut, but instead of blood coming out, its killer ants. It’s disgusting, it stings and it’s just plain wrong.

That’s what it’s like to unexpectedly get iceberg lettuce. 

There’s also other types of lettuce, lettuces I’ve only seen on TV. Stuff like butterhead lettuce or red lettuce. Like, where do these mystical lettuces come from? Space? Plum Island? Scumdogia? Who knows? It doesn’t matter where they come from. What matters is that there’s variety. 

Also, iceberg lettuce, according to the USDA, doesn’t have much nutrition. But it does have lots of water, kind of like an iceberg. If I need water, I’ll just drink from a glass or a puddle. Honestly, here’s probably more nutrition and flavor in puddle water. Sweet, delicious puddle water. 

Why must we be confined to only iceberg lettuce when there are so many more, most likely not bland tasting ones?

I have a dream that one day the time will come when we will be free from the confines of iceberg lettuce. One day, every man, woman and child will be free to choose what variety of lettuce they want to eat. Lettuce slay the beast, rise up and take back our rights to have lettuce other than iceberg.

Contact Ian Roesler with comments at


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