How Racial Profiling and Stereotypes Work

Romaine lettuce has been in the news this week.  Romaine lettuce wants to kill us, or at least make us sick. Maybe it’s not the fault of the lettuce itself—in terms of nature v. nurture it’s toxicity is definitely a result of the way it was raised.  Probably. 

Tonight I’m supposed to make Thai lettuce wraps with butter lettuce.  I know that butter lettuce is nothing like romaine lettuce, and that my particular lettuce was grown hydroponically in Georgia. It is in no way, shape or form related to the homicidal Romaine lettuce. I know this, but I don’t believe this. 

They are both green. Leafy. Suspicious looking. 

I know in my head that more people have become ill from the consumption of raw eggs than from lettuce, but I still eat raw cookie dough because it is so damn delicious and besides I have so many good memories of eggs. Scrambled. Fried. Whisked into cakes and cookies and other delicious baked goods. And there’s that whole Easter Bunny thing. The Easter Bunny condones eggs and the Easter Bunny is next to God and George Washington in terms of reliability. 

I have no nostalgia for lettuce of any variety. I mean sure, I’ve eaten a lot of salads in my life, but they’ve all looked pretty much the same. What’s memorable about a salad is rarely the greens anyway. It’s all about the candied walnuts or blue cheese or other topping. 

But I believe in confronting my stereotypes, and as I said, my lettuce is from Georgia and therefore reliable. I start assembling my dinner. Turkey, onion. Perfectly dependable. Ben Franklin wanted to make the turkey the national bird. Ginger and chestnuts are exotic and besides they hail from a region very far away from Romaine growing country—I think.   Then I come to the bag of “slaw mix.”  What exactly is a slaw? Cabbage? Is cabbage closer to romaine than butter lettuce? Where did this particular slaw mix originate? Was there any mixing with rebel romaine wherein my slaw could have gotten ideas?

I can’t live like this. I’m going to have to trust that this slaw is good American slaw or at least if it is foreign-born slaw it’s from the right foreign country. 

I prepare the Thai lettuce wraps, which don’t stay wrapped particularly well, but are otherwise delicious. My SigO came into the kitchen and saw the leftover leaves. 

“There was slaw in there?” he asked. 

“There was.” I confirm.

We look at each other and think our own very private thoughts about slaw.  We load the dishwasher and decide that some things are better left unsaid. 

Want me in your inbox?

Copyright © 2024 Lara Lillibridge

Public domain imagery courtesy of

Tweet Follow Only_Mama