By Amy McCarthy
By Scott Reitz
By Scott Reitz
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Alice Laussade
By City of Ate
...screamed in agony. It was like someone, you know, some weed-smoking, tie-dyed vegan took a pair of tweezers and ripped the veins right out of my epidermis.
Bibb lettuce: You mean they burn us and breathe the smoke? Is this the health of vegetables?
Dr. Vinaigretoux: That's another session, Tuesdays, 7 p.m. I'm glad you brought this up. So for this abandonment, you blame your father?
Spinach: My father was puréed with dill fronds and simmered into a soup before I was 3 months old. My mother raised us in the furrow alone, until she was uprooted, hacked with a cleaver and scalded with hot bacon dressing, the sous bastard.
Arugula: Bacon? Get the pigs. That's what I say. Do to them what they did to Basil.
Dr. V: You're hot and bitter, and you're sublimating the...
Spinach: No, that's Arugula.
Arugula: He means angry, you wilted lackwit.
Dr. V: Good. Keep going. I feel some healing here. Is there anything else that's coming up?
Arugula: Well, you know, I just wish he'd choose his words more carefully. And anyway, he starred in that sailor cartoon, Popeye, is it? So he gets residuals. What's he need therapy for? I mean, my parents were consumed in the great tapenade vinaigrette flood of '05.
Spinach: It was my great-uncle! And he was animated, blanched and vacuum-packed in a can. Hell, in Tootsie, Tomato was played by Dustin Hoffman.
Tomato: You think being played by Hoffman heals my pain? My mother was steamed, skinned, chopped and put into a spicy gazpacho sorbet. Hey, where's Scallion?
Bibb Lettuce: Oh man, you didn't hear?
Tomato: What? Hear what?!
Arugula: He bit it in a Chang's Soothing Lettuce Wrap.
Dr. V: OK, OK. We've entered a vulnerable space here. Let's stiffen our spines a bit. We've all experienced tragedy. We...
Arugula: Spines? We're vegetables, you idiot.
Dr. V: .. . got through the great New York borscht craze with Beet. In our Wednesday sessions, we're helping Baby Corn get through the current corn foam fad, and this is where Heirloom Carrot has been deeply supportive, especially since, as you may know, she just found out her father was grated and cooked in a chervil timbale. This is...
Spinach: There's an even greater threat. You hear about this place called Greenz? It focuses exclusively on salads, big, fluffy salads with green leaves, succulent cabbage and bright mutilated carrots. Their aim is to "immerse you in the fresh, healthy culture of salad." Is that sick or what? They divide the menu between the veggie-addled and the carnivorous, but the leaves and roots and sprouts are the unmistakable attraction. These are meal-sized things. How do you face down such a threat?
Arugula: They have these posters on the walls such as "If a rabbit don't eat it, you don't need it" and "Lettuce an aphrodisiac? The ancient Egyptians thought so." This is veggie porno. This is shameless promotion of vegetable cruelty.
Bibb Lettuce: It isn't all violent vegetable exploitation though. They have these things called chipotle chicken pinwheels studded with sun-dried tomatoes and jack cheese bound up and twisted into a tomato-basil tortilla wrap and served with a thick, chunky salsa.
Bibb Lettuce: And they have a chipotle chicken salad topped with cheese, pecans and a spindly pile of crispy tortilla strips. It kind of looks like a bifurcated sea urchin.
Arugula: If only.
Bibb Lettuce: OK, so it has lots of fluffy, fresh and blemish-free greens and bright chopped tomatoes.
Tomato: (carried out in a wicker basket)
Spinach: Yeah, but I heard the chicken stuff is awful. The pinwheels are cold and pasty. The pulverized chicken in the salad is the same: Like fuzz in cold cream. So the focus is still on us. We're primed for ravishment.
Arugula: I don't get this. People are up in arms about chickens because they spend their whole lives in these cramped corporate condos. These animals even get Edie Falco or Carmela Soprano or whatever to speak out against animal inconvenience. Well, let me tell you something: We spend our lives stem-deep in black Angus shit just to be ripped out of the ground, shredded and tossed with tofu. What I want to know is, who's going to speak out for mesclun mix?
Spinach: Yeah, scientists have attached sensitive microphones to vegetation and discovered that we scream when under attack. Vegetables initiate a massive hormone barrage akin to a nerve response whenever we're pulled up, peeled, cooked and eaten.
Dr. V: So it feels like the next step in our work would be to explore Greenz, if it feels safe.
Bibb Lettuce: It's fast casual. Counter service with table delivery. Cheerful, efficient servers that do reconnaissance around the tables. Swirled concrete floors. Mint green and bristle-brushed eggplant walls. Essentially a creepy veggie morgue.
Spinach: What I hear is, the asparagus soup topped with Gouda is like creamed silk. It's dashed with just the right amount of salt. But here's the problem: They stumble on the carnivore side of the aisle, so the eye is always on us.