I have a new favorite TV show.
Yeah, my friend T brought a couple of seasons of “Modern Family” on DVD, and I think it’s hilarious. But that’s besides the point. I only bring it up because an episode of my new favorite show reminded me of something that really bothered me while in the U.S. last year. I’ve not mentioned it until now, but I can’t keep it in any longer.
Wedge salads?! Seriously?
People do realize they’re paying someone a lot of money to quarter a head of lettuce and put it on a plate, right? Now I can understand paying someone to cut lettuce into more manageable and bite-size pieces for me, provided they then toss it with delicious veggies, meats, cheeses, and (heavy) non-non-fat dressing. And if there’s some really quality green leafy vegetables involved (and extra meat), I’m even more inclined to pay $8 for a bowl of the rabbit food.
But this wedge salad is a quarter head of lettuce — and not just any lettuce… ICEBERG lettuce, the worst kind. It doesn’t even taste good.
And I heard people talk about wedge salads as if they were 1) really delicious and 2) some new ingenious way of preparing salads, as if someone really put some thought into this.
It’s a gimmick, you know. It is a “new” way of preparing salad, I suppose. At least it’s new for fine dining establishments. I’m sure grumpy, lazy parents have been doing this for years, though, in the privacy of their own homes.
I’m telling you that one of five things happened here. The wedge salad is likely the result of…
Bob, the restaurant’s chef, was hungover one morning when it came time to prepare salads for the mid-day lunch rush. He’d not slept much the night before, and what little he had slept was in a pool of his own vomit, next to a dragon with a lady tattoo. He decided chopping the lettuce for the day was just too much work.
Instead, he quartered the heads and used the time he’d saved to play Angry Birds and drink free soda. With the recent success of his wedge salads, Bob is now working on his newest great idea: a raw bar. That way he can stalk restaurant goers on Facebook instead of actually cooking the fish he serves.
Sue, the restaurant’s owner, was outraged when the woman who’d made advances towards her husband the previous week sat down at a table with three of her bimbo lady friends. ”How dare she!”
At that moment, Sue saw a waiter carrying salads to the tramp table and ordered him back into the kitchen. There she sliced a head of iceberg lettuce four ways, placing one piece on each plate. She told the waiter to add some dressing and a couple of other salady things — but NOT to bother slicing up the tomatoes for those loose husband-stealers.
The table of promiscuous women loved the wedge salad and told all their friends about it. It was the perfect food to complement their extremely bleached blond hair, exceedingly tight dresses, and exceptionally large… SUVs.
Travis was in charge of catering for a rather large event. He was over budget and under-staffed. So he ordered iceberg lettuce and made wedge salads. There’s not really much funny backstory to this one. It was just something that had to be done.
“Hey, can anyone think of a dish that won’t cost us any money at all, but can kind of become ‘our thing?’” asked Isabella, entrepreneur and first-time restaurant owner. One of the sous chefs offered that the orphanage in which he grew up would often serve iceberg lettuce by the quarter-head with nothing on the side but salt and pepper. “It wasn’t any good,” he said, “but I’ve never forgotten it.”
Isabella put wedge salads on the menu for that very night. She also started making diners cut the grass and clean the bathrooms without compensation.
5. A Bet [This is the most likely scenario.]
“Hey, Richard, I bet I can get a bunch of my hoity-toity restaurant goers to eat cheap, nasty salad and talk about it as if it’s great. And I’ll save time and money while I’m at it. They go for pretty much anything, provided they think it’s either expensive or exclusive.”
[Never mind, I just realized this scenario is completely unplausible because, seriously, who would take this guy's bet?]
And for those of you who legitimately enjoy wedge salads — or for those of you own restaurants and are in search of a new, great menu items — here’s an idea:
I call it “Wedge Cole Slaw.” And the beauty of it is its simplicity. Quarter a cabbage and put it on a plate with one side of mayo and one of vinegar. See? We let the customer determine whether he wants mayonnaise- or vinegar-based cole slaw. AND… we hardly do anything. It’s a win win.*