Friday, October 31, 2008

An issue dear to my heart

I'd like to begin this blog with an issue very dear to my heart, and one which I have done a lot of swearing about: FRISEE.

I hate frisee, and I believe you should, too. Now, an initial disclaimer--I can't eat raw lettuce anyway, so the pointy beast already has that counting against it. (I spent an entire semester at college feeling terrible and confused because I was eating "healthy" giant salads every day for lunch.) But there is no lettuce I hate more--aesthetically or gastronomically, regardless of what it does to me intestinally. According to the interwebs, frisee is supposedly "mildly bitter," "frisky," "fresh," and "bright." It is also related to the endive (poor, gentle endive). Another aspect of note: it is also commonly found in salad mixes. ....oh you mean the stuff that comes prepackaged? you mean the quick-fix for moms on the go? you mean, put together by a machine? Frisee is pointy, and therefore takes up a lot of space. You can see where I am going here: it makes it look like you're getting a lot more salad than you are if you bulk that shit up with frisee. And it's not just busy suburban moms who use salad mixes--I have the inside scoop and chefs use them too. Even if they don't use a mix, they can keep costs down with a couple of handfuls thrown into their own "spring mix" or whatever. Though it may not seem like much but, especially in mid-range restaurants like your favorite corner bistro, chefs have to run an extremely tight financial ship. But enough economics.

Frisee tastes bad. "Mildly bitter"? I think not. It is extremely bitter and not in a good, dark chocolate kind of way. It tastes like licking pressure-treated wood. And the texture! Pointy! Thorny! Awful. How does this stuff get a starring role (well, ok, supporting) at some of the best restaurants! Here is your pork chop with a concord grape compote and anise seed crust with grilled Parmesan polenta triangles and oh yeah, a pointy salad. Would you like some fresh cracked pepper over that, madam?

No, I would like a normal salad for normal people. Actually, can I have some bacon or something instead?

Also, the stuff looks like it is from space: