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Hawthorn Hill

September 5, 2013

Is there a wrong way to spin lettuce?

I approach most things I do philosophically, whether it is writing, reading, teaching or drying freshly picked lettuce in a spin dryer.

Actually, since we garden organically and the only liquid that touches our greens is rainwater, there really is no need to wash things a second time, thereby using well water unnecessarily. However, around here the operable practice, as deemed from above by the ranking kitchen mavens, is to first wash greens by hand, toss a bunch into the spinner, crank it up to high speed for 25 revolutions (at the very least), apply the brakes, check the moisture content, then, like it or not, repeat the process at least one more time. Apparently, I come to lettuce drying with neither an acceptable attitude nor a defensible technique. I reckon that if one were to conduct a survey of the lettuce processing methods used in a sampling of households one would see a diversity of approaches – and attitudes. Having been brought up believing that there are multiple ways of approaching any challenge so long as one achieves the desired end without resorting to moral transgressions, getting the job done is all that matters. What was I thinking?

If my worth as a human being were measured against my approach to spin drying lettuce, at least around here, I would be an abysmal failure. It is tough enough to have your wife look upon your method with complete incredulity. Add a daughter into the mix, whose attitude and depth of disbelief mirror her mother’s, you have a pretty good idea of the atmospherics that late afternoon a week ago when I was confidently drying batches of lettuce at our kitchen sink in a somewhat Zen like state. As one who agrees with a mystic who extols the virtues of living in and making the most of the present, I was experiencing a kinship with lettuce impossible to convey. It turns out I had no business reveling in such a state of spiritual bliss.

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