It dates back to the Ancient Greeks who believed it contained sleep inducing properties and so served it at the end of a meal. However, the dictatorial Emperor Domitian (81-96AD) brought it out at the beginning of his feasts so he could torture his guests by forcing them to stay awake in his presence!
The popularity of lettuce continued into Roman times, with people benefiting from its nutritional properties – in fact Emperor Caesar Augustus built a statue praising lettuce as he believed eating it had cured him of an illness! It was traditional for Romans to begin their banquets with lettuce to enhance the appetite and relax the alimentary canal.
Originating from the Mediterranean area, lettuce was first introduced into America by Christopher Columbus when he sailed ‘the ocean blue’ in 1492.