"It is said that the effect of eating too much lettuce is 'soporific.' I have never felt sleepy after eating lettuces; but then I am not a rabbit." ---Beatrix Potter, The Tale of The Flopsy Bunnies
Well, Ms. Potter, I can tell you that I have my own theory about why lettuce makes you sleepy! It is boring! Tasteless! I know some people enjoy a good crunchy salad, and I do too, but it better have more of everything else, and minimal lettuce. (I guess I should interrupt this blog and mention that none of these views are adopted by SSJCPL in general - the library promotes healthy eating of all veggies, including lettuce. It's just me who doesn't like it! Which makes my clean eating endeavor that much harder.)
However, it is true that lettuce does have sleep inducing qualities, other than being boring. Lettuce contains lactur carium - a substance that sedates the nervous system. In fact, back in Ancient Greece, lettuce was enjoyed after the meal. That is until a very mean and sadistic emperor named Domitian decided to switch up the order and serve the salad before the meal. You see, it was illegal to fall asleep during the long meal with the emperor, which often lasted many hours. The penalty for sleeping could even include death. Most people would be surprised by the idea of using lettuce as torture, but not me! A big lettucey salad sounds like a lot like torture to this blogger!
Lettuce creeps up in many of our books. Rapunzel finds herself taken captive because her expectant mother craved rapunzel or lamb's lettuce in the witches' garden. Way to go, thieving parents. It is a huge part of The Flopsy Bunnies, as mentioned above, and Peter Rabbit (which also includes theft). And of course, you can find it as an ingredient in many recipes.
And to be fair, I suppose lettuce can be enjoyable. It is certainly refreshing and crunchy. It definitely adds a good crunch in a sub sandwich. Plus, it's healthy. It has very low calories, and is a good source of vitamin K, C, A, folates, and beta-carotine. It also contains good amounts of minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Okay, so maybe lettuce isn't boring after all, but I certainly won't be stealing it any time soon!