An herb of the genus _Lactuca_, "Wherewith," says that pious gastronome, Hengist Pelly, "God has been pleased to reward the good and punish the wicked. For by his inner light the righteous man has discerned a manner of compounding for it a dressing to the appetency whereof a multitude of gustible condiments conspire, being reconciled and ameliorated with profusion of oil, the entire comestible making glad the heart of the godly and causing his face to shine. But the person of spiritual unworth is successfully tempted to the Adversary to eat of lettuce with destitution of oil, mustard, egg, salt and garlic, and with a rascal bath of vinegar polluted with sugar. Wherefore the person of spiritual unworth suffers an intestinal pang of strange complexity and raises the song."
A composite plant of the genus Lactuca (Lactuca sativa), the leaves of which are used as salad. Plants of this genus yield a milky juice, from which lactucarium is obtained. The commonest wild lettuce of the United States is Lactuca Canadensis.
There are three common varieties of lettuce found in the supermarket : crisphead, which has a tight solid head ; cos or romaine, which has elongated, coarse leaves; and butteredheads or cabbage, which has loose, coarse leaves. Look for lettuce with a bright color and no bruising or wilting. Leave those that are browning along the tips of the leaves or excessively pale. Rinse and thoroughly dry. Tear the leaves instead of cutting them to avoid bruising. Lettuce will keep in the refrigerator in plastic for two or three days, but is best when used immediately after purchase.