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The cos is a crisp long-leaved variety of lettuce. The earliest known pictorial record of a lettuce, from an ancient Egyptian carving, shows the tall leaves characteristic of the cos, but the plant that now bears the name seems to have originated in Turkey and adjacent islands (including Kos): the earliest record of it in English, in John Evelyn's Acetaria (1699), refers to the ‘Coss Lettuce from Turkey’. It was probably brought westwards via Rome, for Roman lettuce was an early name for it in Britain, and in the USA it is still generally known as the romaine. Another term occasionally used for it in Britain is Manchester lettuce.

Subjects: Cookery, Food, and Drink.

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