HOW green is Kentucky Fried Chicken?
It's a question which needs an answer, since KFC, like many other companies, struggles to cope with the Australia-wide shortage of lettuces
The shortage has been caused by a very wet start to the year, with unprecedented rain and flooding spoiling crops in NSW and Queensland
The Daily Mail reported on the issue.
"A few weeks ago, a head of lettuce was costing shoppers just $2.80," it said in one particular story.
"However, due to an ongoing supply crisis the price has skyrocketed to as much as $12.
"A supermarket in suburban Brisbane was pictured selling a single head of iceberg lettuce for as much as $12.99 last month."
You can buy a good bottle of McGuigan Black Label Red Wine for that price, or three bottles of the El Cheapo Riverside Landing range (and this range is perfectly drinkable).
Back to where we came in, the lettuce in KFC has been replaced by cabbage - both lettuce and cabbage are green and leafy, but that's where similarity stops.
I don't think I'm in a minority of one when I say I can easily pick up the difference with a single bite, as can most KFC customers
"The news has prompted KFC lovers to complain the result is less than 'finger- lickin' good," the article said.
LETTUCE is the common name for Lactuca sativa.
It's been used for almost 3000 years in China.
One use then was an aphrodisiac, apparently. Christopher Columbus is credited with importing it to Europe.
Having said that, "lettuce" is a very loose noun.
I was very surprised to read that watercress and spinach can be described as "lettuces".
These are two of the 18 "types" of lettuce, which also includes endive, kale and bok choi (and purslane and tat soi, to name but a few).
No taste, all texture.
When we were looking at a farm to buy in Penguin many years ago, the real estate agent pointed at a clump of plants growing in a creek inlet and said: "You b***** Poms eat that stuff, don't ya?"
Yes, it was watercress.
We bought the farm, named it "Watercress Valley", registered this as a business name and developed quite a reasonable profit from sales of individual packets of "that stuff" to wholesalers.
In defence to the estate agent, the label read "English Watercress".
The global production of "lettuce" is enormous - 25 million tonnes in 2013 and probably around 27 million now.
Not surprisingly, China is the major producer.
CABBAGES, (or Brassica oleracea if you prefer to be scientific) are much more modern as it's been only 1000 years since they were domesticated in Europe.
As with lettuce, there are several types but unlike lettuce they have a range of flavours and most commercial ones are firm headed.
The heaviest cabbage, as of 2012, was one weighing 62.71kg.
It's those flavours which caused the consumer backlash when KFC used them.
The flavours are good but take you aback when you're not expecting them, as happened to those consumers
They will be looking forward to a return to normal soon.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.