|Sandwich or sandwich wrap|
|Lettuce, bread or filling|
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A lettuce sandwich is either a bread sandwich made with lettuce as its only filling, or a breadless sandwich, with a filling optionally inserted between two leaves of lettuce or rolled inside one large lettuce leaf. In the later case it is often referred to as a lettuce wrap. It should not be confused with other sandwiches that use lettuce as one of many ingredients, such as the BLT sandwich or the tomato and lettuce sandwich. The lettuce sandwich has a long history in both the United States and the United Kingdom. It has been used as a metaphor to represent things like mundanity, weakness and poverty. There are allegedly health benefits to eating lettuce sandwiches, such as promoting weight loss and remedying insomnia, and they are sometimes part of a vegetarian diet.
The lettuce sandwich was mentioned in print as early as 1894 in The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine. The lettuce sandwich (bread with a lettuce filling) was a common food in the United States and England during the first half of the 20th century; preferred by the youth and served at fine luncheons. Lettuce sandwiches have been served in schools in the United States. The lettuce sandwich (bread with lettuce filling) is also an old-fashioned English food. Lettuce sandwiches are still prevalent in the US and elsewhere.
When making a bread and lettuce sandwich, the bread can optionally be buttered or spread with mayonnaise, and then lettuce is placed between the two slices of bread. To prepare a breadless lettuce sandwich, roll any filling inside a large leaf of lettuce or place it between two leaves of lettuce. Other variations on the lettuce sandwich also exist, such as the pickled lettuce sandwich. The west-coast hamburger chain In-N-Out offers a lettuce sandwich called "the Protein" or "Protein Style" on their hidden menu. It is a hamburger patty wrapped in lettuce instead of the traditional bun.
The lettuce sandwich has also become a cultural metaphor to represent something unattractive, unappealing, weak, or mundane. In this sense, the term "limp (or soggy) lettuce sandwich" is often used. Being on a "lettuce sandwich diet" refers to getting by on the bare minimum with absolutely nothing more than the necessities of life. The lettuce sandwich is sometimes indicative of poverty or hardship, and also represents lack of sufficient nourishment. The lettuce sandwich is considered a humble, tasteless food. It can be used to represent disappointment as in "life was like a lettuce sandwich over the sink".
A lettuce sandwich has been claimed to be a sleep-inducing remedy for insomnia. This may be due to opiate-like chemicals contained in lettuce that help relax and sedate the body, along with the sleep-inducing effect of the carbohydrates in the bread. Lettuce sandwiches (no bread) are also eaten to promote weight loss. Lettuce sandwiches (bread filled with lettuce) can also be a good food choice for the health-conscious. The lettuce sandwich (bread filled with lettuce)—which contains no meat—is mentioned in a book about vegetarian diets.
A reference to a lettuce sandwich was made in the I Solemnly Swear episode of the Gilmore Girls TV series. Celebrities such as Morris Graves and Edgar Crook, author of Vegetarianism in Australia, have eaten lettuce sandwiches.
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