Just say no?; grilled romaine

My Mother speaks.

If  you don’t believe in those things, how are you going to stay sober?

Every time I want to drink or do drugs, I’m going to make the decision not to do them. I’ll keep making that decision until it’s no longer a decision, but a way of life.

Originally marketed as a memoir, A Million Little Pieces (James Frey, Anchor, 2003) is now considered “addiction fiction” because — duh — much of it never happened. Author Frey also doesn’t get capitalization and punctuation, but if you’re aware of all this, you can still find some interesting stuff to think about like the quotation above.

Just make the decision. Just say ‘no.’ I did it with 3 packs a day of Marlboros (Sept. 29, 1979, but who’s keeping track?), I did it with computer solitaire, maybe I can do it with dessert at night!

But — tired old riff — you don’t have to smoke. You don’t have to play computer games. You do have to eat. So, now that farmers’ markets have reopened, let’s make it a point to eat vegetables and fruits. Three-quarters of your plate, baby, should be produce. For those with less than stellar mathematical abilities, that leaves one-quarter for protein and refined carbs.

Stoic the Vast is bringing in armloads of spinach and lettuce, and this is something we tried with the tender, loose romaine heads. It would work better, actually, with big dense heads of romaine already industrially cleaned, but we’re trying not to be industrial.

Freshly cut romaine halves on the grill, cut side down.
Freshly cut romaine halves on the grill, cut side down.

He doesn’t mulch lettuce so dirt splashes into it during heavy rains. We halved heads lengthwise and gently sloshed them in cold water with a few drops of vinegar, but romaine heads are like leeks — tricky to separate enough for washing without pulling apart entirely. So we had a little of our lifetime dirt ration — it’s supposed to be healthy, too, right?

Romaine lettuce, BTW, takes its name from its introduction at the Avignon papal court of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (1500-1558).

Grilled romaine

Romaine heads (1/2 medium-large for each person)

Olive oil for brushing

Salt and pepper to taste

Grated good-quality Parmesan, optional

Cut heads lengthwise in half and brush halves all over with olive oil. Put onto hot, oiled grill and cook until charred, turning frequently, about 4 to 5 minutes per half. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with dressing of choice and grated cheese, if desired.

Tender leaves begin to brown almost as soon as you put them on the grill.
Tender leaves begin to brown almost as soon as you put them on the grill.
Ready to serve.
Ready to serve.

 

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