The easiest way to core iceberg lettuce is to firmly whack the head, core side down, against the kitchen counter. The force dislocates the core from the tight leaf structure, and, with a quick twist, it pops right out.
America’s relationship with iceberg lettuce may have once been this simple—and satisfying—but in recent years, iceberg’s reputation has wilted under nutritional and environmental scrutiny. On the other hand, iceberg recipes continue to pop up online and in cookbooks; they’re handed down, swapped, and treasured. And at some point, iceberg lettuce became a signifier of taste, class, and values: deficient for some, yet irreplaceable for others.