Why you mustn’t cut lettuce
Today, I explain why the well-mannered French never take a knife to a lettuce leaf and share a recipe for that bistro classic, goat’s cheese salad with a warm vinaigrette.
I don’t know about you, but I like to know what the rules are before I break them. In France, it’s considered impolite to cut the leaves of your salad with a knife. Like lots of seemingly ridiculous rules, this one has a basis in history, in science even. In the past, rich people ate with silver cutlery and when sawing at salad with their silver knives, the acid in the vinaigrette tarnished them. It could also turn the dressing an unsprightly shade of grey. No one wins in this scenario.
Today, we all mostly use stainless steel cutlery so this is no longer a problem, but in certain circles the no-cutting-salad is still a rule that’s observed. In the way that we torture ourselves with a moving target of misery, now it’s because to use your knife implies your hapless host (or, in fact, you) hasn’t prepared the leaves with enough care – washing them, drying them as carefully as you would a newborn, then tearing them with your beautiful hands into bite-sized pieces.
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