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John B. Bibb and Bibb lettuce

Discussion in 'Foods of the Civil War' started by donna, Jun 20, 2011.

  1. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    Kentucky Bibb lettuce is considered by gourmets to be the finest in the world and is the pride of any Kentucky garden. Originally, it was called "limestone lettuce". It has a lovely compact head with crisp deep green leaves of single serving size that cluster like loose rose petals. Its flavor is delicate and sweet and although tender and easily bruised, it is resistant to plant lice. Thanks to John Bibb as he worked as amateur horticulturist before and at time of Civil War, we have this fine lettuce.

    John B. Bibb was born on October 27,1789 in Prince Edward County. Virginia. He was the son of Richard and Lucy Booker Bibb. The family came to Kentucky about 1798. They first settled in Fayette County. They moved to Bullitt County and then Logan County.

    John studied law under Judge H. F. Broadnax. In 1813 he joined the 4th Kentucky Volunteer Brigade during the War of 1812. After the battle of Thames, he was promoted from private to major. In 1814 John returned from War and was admitted to the bar. He was elected to the Ky. House of Representatives in 1827 and 1828. From 1830 to 1834 he served Kentucky as a Senator from Logan County.

    In August, 1831 he married Sarah P. Hopkins Horsely. In 1856 they moved to Frankfort, Ky. and built Gray Gables, now known as Bibb-Burnley House. He had a large garden and greenhouses in the back of his house where he developed a new variety of lettuce. He developed the "limestone " lettuce which was later named Bibb about 1865. He did not market it, but gave seeds to his friends and neighbors. It was then grown by regional farmers and later marketed by the Grenewein Greenhouse in Louisville, Ky.

    John Bibb died on April 13, 1884 and is buried in Frankfort Cemetery, Frankfort, Ky.

    Bibb lettuce is wonderful for salads. in Kentucky it is most often used for wilted lettuce salad.

    An old recipe for wilted lettuce salad:

    3 qts. Bibb lettuce, cleaned and dried
    3 green onions, heads and tops chopped fine
    radishes, sliced
    1 t. sugar
    1 t. salt
    2 T. vinegar
    5 slices bacon, crisply fried, crumbled
    reserved bacon drippings from frying
    2 eggs, hard-cooked and chopped

    Place lettuce, onions, radishes, sugar and salt in bowl. Pour vinegar over all. Pour hot bacon grease over all and top with chopped eggs and crumbled bacon. Serve immediately.
     

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  3. Glorybound

    Glorybound Major Retired Moderator

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    [​IMG]

    Kentucky Bibb Lettuce
     
  4. Lazy Bayou

    Lazy Bayou 1st Lieutenant

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    Hey, this is really good. Almost as good as grits.
     
  5. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    Could this be moved to the Food Forum?

    Thanks.

    Donna
     
  6. chellers

    chellers 1st Lieutenant Trivia Game Winner

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    Interesting, and the recipe sounds deeelicious. Thanks.
     
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  7. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    Glad you liked it. My Mom always called Bibb lettuce the royalty of lettuce. She always served at parties and for company. It is so tender and sweet.
     
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  8. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    Here is another good way to fix a Bibb lettuce salad.

    Bibb Lettuce with Shaken Vinaigrette

    1 shallot, peeled and chopped
    1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
    1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    4 heads Bibb lettuce
    1/4 cup pine nuts
    4 ounces crumbled blue cheese

    Combine the shallot, mustard, vinegar, oil, and salt and pepper in a jar and with an immersion blender, pulse until the shallot is chopped and the vinaigrette is emulsified. Season, to taste with salt and pepper.

    Break the lettuce leaves off the heads, put them in a large bowl or on a platter, and dress them whole with the vinaigrette. Top with the toasted pine nuts and crumbled blue cheese.
     
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  9. ExNavyPilot

    ExNavyPilot 2nd Lieutenant

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    What? No bacon?!?! I vote for your first recipe. :hungry:
     
  10. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    I love both these recipes. There is nothing like Blue Cheese which is on the second recipe.
     
  11. diane

    diane Colonel Forum Host

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    Bibb lettuce has always been my favorite. It's not only tender and sweet but very pleasing in color and shape. Iceberg lettuce is sort of a workhorse! Myself, I find I like it better shredded up in tacos or hamburgers - it can stand up to a heavy fare. But for a nice tuna or cucumber sandwich, or a pretty dinner salad, it's Bibb!
     
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  12. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    With Derby week coming this Monday, had to bring up this thread. You have to serve Bibb lettuce at your Derby get together. It is the best of the lettuces and from Kentucky.
     
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  13. John Winn

    John Winn Sergeant Major

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    I never knew the history behind Bibb lettuce; thanks ! It is the best but it's rare in these parts.
    I've never thought about growing it though. Maybe next year (lettuce being a cool-weather crop). Then maybe I'll have friends and be popular.
     
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  14. donna

    donna Lt. Colonel Forum Host

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    My Mom always called Bibb the" champagne of lettuce"She loved it and served it often.
     
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  15. pamc153PA

    pamc153PA 1st Lieutenant Forum Host

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    I love Bibb lettuce. It's so sweet and buttery, but you have to use it pretty quickly. I've never been able to keep it in the fridge but for a day or two, but it usually doesn't stick around that long, anyway, before we eat it!
     
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