Last week, we published Sydney Mondry's opinion piece arguing that wedge salads are "an abomination." While not everyone agreed with her take, we didn't expect to receive this rebuttal, without forewarning, from none other than Sydney's father. After reviewing his counterargument, we have decided to share it with our audience.
My poor daughter. So disillusioned. In her recent article posted on VICE Media, Sydney denigrates the defenseless iceberg lettuce, as well as its most inventive use, the wedge salad. How and why she decided to weave into the story the tale of my GAP jeans history remains mysterious. But I suppose it can be traced back to her mother.
First, the lettuce. I’ll give Sydney that iceberg is not loaded with flavor, or even nutritional value. And I did laugh at her description of its taste as “refrigerator air.” Funny. But she fails to understand iceberg’s calling in life, which is crunch and mouthfeel, and background noise to the symphony of flavors which are layered on top of The Wedge. Iceberg is the blank white wall to the colorful painting hanging front and center. It is the neutral sofa to the patterned pillows and throw rug draped over it. It is the bland tube pasta to the zesty tomato sauce and crunchy gooey baked cheese on top.
The most perfect solutions in life strike just the right balance among competing and complementary values. There are few finer gastronomical constructs than The Wedge, when you consider the crunch of the lettuce, the salty chewiness of the bacon, the sweetness of the tomato, and the sharp tanginess and Play-Doh-like texture of the blue cheese crumbles and its first cousin dressing. (I have left out the onion, as I don’t care for them, but I respect others’ right to include them in moderation.)
Now... to my jeans. For the sake of literary punch, I’m guessing Sydney neglected to mention that my closet is now filled with trendy jeans from the likes of Rag & Bone and Theory, the type which are so slim and fitted that I have to sit down to remove them with a pair of pliers in order to pull them over my calves and feet. However, I do retain one or two pair of old, baggie GAP jeans which also serve a very specific purpose, much as the iceberg does; they are my early-morning coffee shop jeans. Their primary role in life is to suck up the stench of breakfast burritos, hash browns, coffee beans, and recently woken and un-showered humans. Following my morning routine of coffee, bagel, and NY Times, my Venus fly trap jeans are then unceremoniously returned to the corner of my closet, at which point my modern and fashionable jeans may make their first appearance of the day. So while I don’t disagree with Sydney that my GAP jeans are Vogue “don’ts,” they serve a vital purpose she was not understanding.
Lastly, in defense of Sydney. As her mother’s daughter, her riffs on iceberg and GAP jeans are predictable and come to her honestly. Her mother thinks iceberg is useless and my GAP jeans are from another era. I can’t argue with her about the jeans, though they do perform admirably each morning. But both girls in my family have missed the boat on the lettuce and the vital role it plays in The Wedge. I’m hopeful as they both grow, they will come to appreciate this exceptional culinary role player.