'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

Go here to find out more.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Things in Lettuces

Growing-your-own results in unexpected visitors. In the old days I never used to wash my lettuces.
'You should wash the lettuce, Mum!' they cried.
'I don't spray' said I. 'There's nothing nasty to wash off'
Then I found an earwig, didn't I? Well, it found me. Actually, it found it didn't like being bitten in two, so it pinched me. On my gum. I had to extract the pincher with tweezers. This is true.

So the next weekend when we had friends for dinner, I had, not only washed but also finely chopped lettuce and also a hilarious topic of conversation at my expense. I observed my guest carefully separating and inspecting her lettuce after this, although she politely tried to make it inconspicuous.
Guest: 'Er... I think I've found something'
Everyone peered onto her plate. It was a vegetable bug. Actually, only half a vegetable bug - the front half, neatly chopped.

The jokes are true. Shortly afterwards I found the other half. My mouth was suddenly filled with the foulest, most vile taste I have ever encountered. In this experience I am joined by the loftiest of the science world*, but that was no consolation at this point. I left the table abruptly and while retching and heaving over the sink in the kitchen, I heard through purple haze, murmurs of concern floating from the dining room.

When I was able to return to the table I could confidently tell everyone that stink bugs have their stink in their rear ends, and that it works even after vivisection. I wish I'd had the presence of mind to add that the experiment was a complete success. I am often brilliant retrospectively. But it has provided an excellent conversation-starter at dinner tables ever since.


  1. My daughter once found live thingies crawling around in the lettuce of her hamburger. We were at a Shoney's restaurant at the time. The cashier fully intended to charge us the full price for our three meals until I set her straight and refused to pay anything of my daughter's except her drink.

    I was so upset by the experience I did not set foot in another Shoney's for several years.

  2. My father always said that things in your lettuce weren't a big deal, because they have been eating the lettuce, and therefore that's all they'll taste of.
    So I've never minded much.
    But I draw the line when they pinch or spray like a skunk!
    Which is not to dis your daughter's experience. We don't have Shoney's here. And I didn't charge my guests for their salad.

  3. I always thought that the old joke 'What's worse than finding a slug in your lettuce' (answer: half a slug) was funny until I was at a beach BBQ and a very 'proper' female friend suddenly found exactly that ie half a slug, and promptly threw up in front of the assembly of friends. The difference between you was that she wasn't sure where the other half was and you certainly knew.

  4. Geeb, I sure did!
    I do feel for proper-half-a-slug lady...although I suppose at least at the beach you could bury her..er..reaction.

  5. I notice I haven't identified the thing in the image. It is of course, a weevil. Neither the Lesser, nor the Greater. Just an Only.

  6. We are told to always wash lettuce ( the store bought kind anyway ) because there are some very dangerous snails out there from overseas somewhere that love them and can cause very serious illness if you ingest what they leave behind on the leaves.

  7. Helsie, that sounds awful. I believe all our lettuces are grown here in EnZed, but If I pop across the ditch, will certainly begin scrubbing the greens!

  8. I almost didn't read this as I hate buggy images.
    You poor thing. Sorry I am laughing!!

  9. I'm glad you read it Violet, and wasn't put off! And I don't mind you laughing at me. I do it all the time.