Saturday, November 26, 2011

Defending Misunderstood Vegetables: The Brussels Sprout

We interrupt this daily dinner blog to bring you this important bulletin...

Poor Brussels Sprouts!  So misunderstood!!
 


Earlier this evening, I went out to dinner with my parents.  They asked about my Thanksgiving dinner, so I pulled out my cell phone to show them the picture of my feast.  My mom's first reaction was something along the lines of "Ew. Brussels Sprouts?"   I defended my choice in vegetables and then the conversation moved on to other topics.  But tonight while I was washing dishes, I started thinking about Brussels Sprouts some more.

Why do people hate Brussels Sprouts?

 If you had asked me as a child what my least favorite vegetable was, I probably would have responded "Brussels Sprouts."   Which is funny because there weren't many foods I did not like growing up.  And I can't recall ever actually eating a Brussels Sprouts in my life.  But that just seemed to be the answer that all children were supposed to give.  It rolled off my tongue as naturally as my name or the ABCs.

On a recent Thanksgiving episode of Rachael Ray (her daytime talk show), guest chef Tom Colicchio (head judge on Top Chef) was preparing Brussels Sprouts with Bacon.   This sparked a conversation among Rachael, Tom, Giada De Laurentiis and Emeril Lagasse, about this vegetable, particularly how it got such a "bad rap" among parents and children. 

The answer lies in the preparation.    It seems that most adults grew up eating Brussels Sprouts during their own childhoods that had simply been boiled, which would likely enhance their resemblance to mini-cabbages.   Even boiled cabbage isn't all that exciting.   And once these adults have children on their own, they pass down the knowledge that "Brussels sprouts are like mini cabbages and they taste yucky."

If Brussels Sprouts truly were the most disgusting vegetable in the world, farmers wouldn't continue to grow them and grocers wouldn't continue to sell them.   So there must be something more to this little vegetable than meets the eye (or the tastebuds).

Brussels Sprouts are rather healthy little foods!   They are a good source of vitamin antioxidants, including vitamins C, E, and A (in the form of beta-carotene).  They can help lower cholesterol and offer cancer-preventive components.   Powerful little guys!

Throughout the past few months, I have been seeing Brussels Sprouts pop up in all sorts of recipes in various preparations.  Roasted, pan-cooked, and even raw (in salads).  

My first interaction with Brussels Sprouts was back in September (Day #264), when I roasted them along with some broccoli.   I enjoyed them!     And then, I prepared them again for Thanksgiving.

Had I stuck with my childhood notion that Brussels Sprouts = yucky,  I never would have tried them again.  But palettes change, our tastes & preferences change, and foods change based on how they are prepared.    So I encourage you to try Brussels Sprouts again.  Give them another chance!!

The end.   We now return to your regularly scheduled food blogging...

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