DESCRIPTION.—This plant, a native of Britain, and much esteemed as a vegetable in England and on the Continent, is also in its wild state a sea-coast plant. When properly cooked, it is nutritious and easy of digestion. In appearance and flavor it greatly resembles asparagus, and the suggestions for cooking and recipes given for that vegetable are applicable to sea-kale.
LETTUCE AND RADISH.
DESCRIPTION.—These two vegetables, although wholly different, the one being the leaf of a plant, the other the root, are both so commonly served as relishes that we will speak of them together. Both have long been known and used. Wild lettuce is said to be the bitter herb which the Hebrews ate with the Paschal lamb. The ancient Greek and Roman epicures valued lettuce highly, and bestowed great care upon its cultivation, in some instances watering the plants with sweet wine instead of water, in order to communicate to them a delicate perfume and flavor. The common garden lettuce of the present day is a hardy plant, which supplies an agreeable, digestible, and, when served with a wholesome dressing, unobjectionable salad.
The common radish is supposed to be indigenous to China. Ancient writers on foods mention the radish as used by the early Greeks and Romans, who fancied that at the end of three years its seed would produce cabbages. They had also the singular custom of making the radish the ignominious projectile with which in times of tumult the mob pursued persons whose political opinions had made them obnoxious. When quiet was restored, the disgraced vegetable was boiled and eaten with oil and vinegar. Common garden radishes are of different shapes and of various colors on the outside, there being black, violet, red, and white radishes. The inside portion of all, however, is white. They are sometimes cooked, but more commonly served raw. A dish of crisp, coral radishes adds beauty to the appearance of the table, but they are not possessed of a high nutritive value, being very similar to the turnip in composition, and unless very young, tender, and when eaten thoroughly masticated, are quite difficult of digestion.
LETTUCE.—Wash well, put into cold water, and set on ice or on the cellar bottom for an hour or more before using. Dry the leaves with a soft towel and use whole or tear into convenient pieces with a silver fork; never cut with a knife. Serve with a dressing prepared of equal quantities of lemon juice and sugar, diluted with a little ice water; or, with a dressing of cream and sugar, in the proportion of three or four tablespoonfuls of thin cream to a teaspoonful of sugar. The dressing may be prepared, and after the sugar is dissolved, a very little lemon juice (just enough to thicken the cream slightly, but not sufficient to curdle it) may be added if desired.