Until recently, I didn't know anyone had a fear of lettuce.
The subject of untidy lettuce never entered my mind until my daughter got a salad spinner as a wedding present.
Brenna said she was happy to receive it. “We get a lot of organic lettuce, and it's filthy,” she explained.
Whatever a salad spinner is, it apparently helps clean lettuce.
Shortly thereafter, co-worker Carrie Cole admitted that “Lettuce makes me nervous.”
Carrie mostly worries that her lettuce might be expired. I know what she means. Lettuce that's already cut and sold in bags gets old in a hurry.
Lots of people grow lettuce in their gardens. Naturally, you have to clean that lettuce when you bring it home. But dirt isn't the only thing that needs to be removed.
I’ve talked to lots of people about bugs or worms found crawling in a salad. People have two distinct reactions to the intruders.
Some are traumatized by the experience. If my wife found a worm in her salad, she would discard the salad immediately and try not to be ill.
Some people say you just remove the nuisance and get on with your life. No big deal.
If my daughter saw a worm on her romaine lettuce, “At least I'd know there'd be no pesticides in it,” she said.
My daughter is tougher than I thought. If she finds bugs while washing vegetables, it doesn't bother her. You say “ewww” and “then you wash it off. It's fine,” she says.
Brenna says organic vegetables taste better and have more nutrients than produce from stores.
She speaks harshly of her dad’s favorite type of lettuce — iceberg.
She is also very critical of her father's diet. “Chef Boyardee is no way to live, Dad,” she says.
But she shares Carrie's fear of expired lettuce. “There's nothing worse than expecting it crunchy and finding it soggy and a little off,” Brenna says.
People who care about salad prefer romaine, red or Bibb lettuce, or something pretentious like Arugula. They'll even blend spinach into the mix.
I saw one of my co-workers, Kay Nguyen, snacking on seaweed recently. But she didn't seem to be enjoying it. “You might as well chew grass. It's the same nutritional value,” she says.
Another co-worker, Elaine Kling, says lettuce is much better from the garden. But you “have to eat lettuce at the right time. Otherwise it's too bitter.”
My oldest child has salad for lunch five days a week. Like his mother, he can eat the same meal for days on end.
But unlike his mother, he eats just about everything with Tabasco. He doesn't use dressing on his salad. The only thing he puts on it is hot sauce.
“I get a lot of weird looks,” Benj says.
On the bright side, a strong dose of hot sauce would probably shorten the life of any worm.
Jeff Bahr is an American News reporter. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. His phone number is 605-622-2320. Follow @JeffBahr_AAN on Twitter.