The Fall of the Romaine Empire

I’ve exchanged recent emails with friends … Ha, I have some … about the calamity of our Romaine-E.coli national panic … and the “Fall of the Romaine Empire!”

In those exchanges, it became clear that I’m rather rigid in my expectations of what should be in a salad … some have even called me a “Salad Nazi.”

And, I’ve been forced to admit … I’m way beyond the garden variety “kale hater!”


I’m sure there are worse things to hate … but I find myself now wrought with guilt because kale has done nothing to me.

And … just for the record, I did make what I would call “a valiant attempt” to have a relationship with kale.

I just could not get past the kaleness of kale leaves … and “Pardon me!” … I’m not a “Smoothie-kinda-guy!”

So, these days I find myself searching for substitutes for my beloved Romaine … without having to resort to the dreaded kale.


Let’s be clear about one thing … I insist on a certain level of “crunchiness” to my salad greens.

Ergo, I eschew spinach leafs … whether new born or craggy old adults … and other “limp green leaf varieties” as an insult to my male sensibilities.

I wonder if it has anything to do with the descriptor: “limp.”

So I’ve fallen back on that old standby … crunchy iceberg lettuce … which except for the outer leaves of “the berg,” looks less and less appetizing as you venture into the washed-out-pale-green “heart of the head.”


If not carefully monitored, salads easily become boring.  The next thing you know, you’re secretly glopping store-bought 1000 Island Dressing on your greens.

And, “Yes, Virginia” … there is a place called Thousand Islands … it’s an archipelago of 1864 islands in the upper Saint Lawrence River between the US and Canada.

To offset “Salad-Boredom-Syndrome” … or, SBS … I’m prone to be a leafy green experimenter.

When I buy fresh carrots, beets and radishes, I save and rinse their green leafed  tops to “spice up” my serving of crunchy greens.

They’re a bit bitter … but that’s offset with properly ripened tomato, occasional hearts of palm, and selected olives.

Stuffed olives aren’t just for Martinis!


In addition to absolutely refusing to eat raw kale, no raw mushrooms ever touch my salads.

A word to the wise … with a raw mushroom, you can never ever rinse, wash or scrub enough to erase the fact that it’s grown in s**t.

Just sayin’ …

12 thoughts on “The Fall of the Romaine Empire

  1. Spinach leaves or spinach leafs..
    Spinach with garlic butter preferred warm, lightly salted. Raw, not so tasty.
    Enjoy the humor, thanks.

    • Hi Maggie … Thanks for reading and commenting … Arrgh, I just hate it when I don’t catch my own grammar errors … the plural of leaf as in vegetation is “leaves” … tree, spinach or kale leaves … unless of course you’re talking about Canada’s Toronto Maple Leafs … a hockey team and not vegetation, although it’s referencing a maple tree.

      I sure am glad English is not my second language … I think I’d just go back to where I came from and adjust to not living in an English speaking country.

      BTW … the plural of “gold leaf” as in pages, is “layers of gold leaf” … not “gold leafs” or “gold leaves.”

  2. Sacré Bleu Cheese dressing, Batman!
    I’m IMPRESSED with your salad-ological expertise…though I’m not at all convinced that olives can be truly happy anywhere other than at the bottom of a glass filled with chilled Hendricks gin…
    Still, ya had me at “Fall of the Romanie Empire,” so if I can stop hiccuping long enough, let me suggest “Jicama root” as an alternative crunch-y-fier for your salad malaise. It has a nutty, apple-like flavor and – this will really “frost” that limp head of iceberg in the White House – it’s native to Mexico.

    • Hi TL … Thanks for reading and commenting … Forgot all about jicama … I went through a “jicama phase” several years ago … but now that it’s easily purchased and not so exotic, I forgot about it …

      Great addition … especially if it frosts the orange carrot top ahole in the WH … I love getting more bang for my buck … jicama it is!

  3. Funny, Huss! But I can’t agree with you about kale. Costco sells a kale salad called Sweet Kale with, besides kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, chicory, dried cranberries, roasted pumpkin seeds and a poppyseed dressing that I absolutely love. Of course, I’m also one of those weird people who can’t stand cilantro. Variety is what makes the world go ’round, right?
    Keep us laughing. We need it now more than ever!

    • Hi Joy … thanks for reading and commenting … As a Costco regular, I’ve seen the tubs of kale “salad.”

      I’ll trade you 2 kale salads fro 2 bunches of cilantro … which I love … In fact, maybe I need to add a bit of cilantro to my salad along with Tom Lloyd’s jicama …

    • Hi NBR … thanks for reading and commenting … and for the sly reference to global warming … you’re a sneaky one, you are!

      When Iceberg sits in my fridge too long it, too melts … into a slimy brown alien being … good thing it’s in a ziploc bag so it can straight into the garbage.

      I do recycle the bag!

  4. Nonsense! Well, okay maybe absurd, but seriously, no mushrooms? You need the ‘shrooms to get the vroom back in your salad …

    • Hi Mike … Thanks for reading and commenting … Vroom, vroom yourself … I’ll saute the ‘shrooms and dump ’em over the salad warm … or maybe get me some marinated ‘shrooms … pickled ‘shrooms should be a good compromise…

  5. Let’s talk sometime about the chopped kale salad at Hillstone restaurant in Orlando. I also loathe kale (except for how pretty ornamental kale is in the garden), but last time I went to Hillstone my dining partner ordered the chopped kale salad to share. She make the mistake of leaving the table for 10 minutes and, by the time she returned, I had absent-mindedly eaten the whole thing. Even you might like it.

    • Dearest Sweetie Courtney … Thanks for reading, commenting and making a valiant effort to help me become “less of Kale Hater.”

      With enuf mayo and a side tube of Ritz Crackers, I’ll try anything … but, I’ll never admit to liking it!

      Hugs to you …

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