Hooray, Brussels Sprouts!

Posted December 15, 2007 at 12:46 pm | 11 Comments

Last year at Thanksgiving, we had some amazing Brussels sprouts in mustard sauce, and I emailed my mom this year to ask her if the Brussels sprouts would be making a repeat appearance. She confirmed that our Thanksgiving menu would indeed include Brussels sprouts, and I replied with a heartfelt “Hooray, Brussels sprouts!”

Her reply: “This message did make me smile. Given their reputation, the phrase ‘Hooray, Brussels sprouts’ may never before have been uttered in human history.”

nodocuments.png This is perhaps an exaggeration, but a quick Google search for the phrase “Hooray, Brussels sprouts” returned 0 results. Searching for the phrase “Hooray for Brussels sprouts” returned only two results. So although the phrase, or some variant thereof, may have been uttered at some point in human history, it is certainly not a particularly common sentiment in the blogosphere. I decided I needed to remedy this immediately and give Brussels sprouts a little more of the Internet kudos they deserve.
My mother went on to dispense two interesting tidbits of Brussels-sprout-related knowledge, culled from Wikipedia:

  • According to a survey in 2002, Brussels sprouts are Britain’s most hated vegetable, and it has become a cliché there and in the United States that children dislike the vegetable. Overcooking releases sulfur compounds in the vegetables that give it a distinctive smell commonly found unpleasant. If correctly cooked, the unpleasant smell is avoided and the vegetable possesses a delicate nutty flavor.
  • Belgians claim that if you take the time to eat Brussels sprouts at the beginning of a meal, you’ll avoid getting drunk.

The second factoid sounds awfully dubious (which “Belgians” are these, exactly?) but perhaps I now have grounds for another controlled scientific experiment.

yummy.jpg The first point is a good explanation for why Brussels sprouts have their undeserved ill reputation. If you have shied away from Brussels sprouts in the past, I encourage you to give them another try. This is the right time of year — pick up a few pounds at the local farmer’s market, and try out a recipe like “Fried Ssäm Bar Brussels Sprouts” or “Brussels Sprouts with Shallots and Mustard Seeds”. You won’t be disappointed.
bs1_small.jpg I was complaining to Culyba about Brussels sprouts not getting any respect, and he agreed with me wholeheartedly. “I LOVE Brussels sprouts,” he said. “In fact, I would say that Brussels sprouts and the related cabbage family are the evolutionary pinnacle of deliciousness.”

“Yeah man,” I agreed, a little confused by his statement, but happy to have found a like-minded compatriot in the struggle for cruciferous vegetable recognition, “those veggies are where it’s at. Think about it — you got your arugula, Swiss chard, bok choy, broccoli, turnips, collard greens… ALL good stuff.”

“People make a lot of noise about how good things like strawberries are,” Dave continued, “but what they don’t realize is that fruit is an evolutionary dead-end.”

“Yeah,” I said, warming up to this admittedly bizarre line of reasoning, “Fruit is old news. CABBAGE is the future.”

I have little doubt that long after the human race is extinct, the earth will be ruled by hyperintelligent life forms descended from Brussels sprouts and their Brassicaceae brethren. cabbage-man-small.jpg

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