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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  1. Monzy, is that Brussels Sprouts with Shallots and Mustard Seeds recipe the one your mom made? If not, can you provide your mom’s recipe?

    For some reason, I think I heard the last brussels sprouts crop was really good.

    Comment by Andrew — January 13, 2008 #

  2. I’ve had a few occurances in past years where the question arose of whether a certain phrase had ever been uttered before.


    1. There are small asian people swimming in my duck butter.

    2. Now, let’s measure our butterfly candlestick holder.

    I even wrote an entry in my now defunct ‘blog about it a few years ago. With the almost infinite number of ways words can be strung together it wouldn’t be hard to come up with plenty more. The trick is to craft a phrase that makes complete sense but is so odd that you can’t imagine a situation (other than the one which spawned it) where it would apply.

    On another note, I bet your mom and I watched the same episode of Good Eats. Sir Alton explained the sulphurous reaction that results when you rupture the cell walls of most members of the cabbage family and introduce heat. If you’re not a Good Eats fan, you should check it out.

    Comment by Ryan K — January 28, 2008 #

  3. Monzy, I was just listening to KILL DASH NINE, and have two comments.

    1) Did you go to CMU? I hear some AFS in there. 😉
    2) I object to your assertion that CLRS is better than CLR. CLR is canonical! My friends tell me this means I need to record a nerdcore song and have some sort of battle with you, but I’m not sure I’m up to it…

    Comment by Glenn — January 28, 2008 #

  4. oh hai 😉

    yes, hooray for Brussels sprouts.
    i love them, always have, even as a child. 🙂

    btw, luv the lyrics “While you smoke your crack pipe I’m gonna pipe you to /dev/null.” lol 😀


    Comment by yvi — January 31, 2008 #

  5. A colleague of mine at a previous place of work made a sprout cake using a cunningly modified (i.e. s/carrot/sprout/) recipe. It was almost as well-received as his chocolate-covered pork scratchings.

    Comment by knirirr — February 6, 2008 #

  6. Sprouts have been my favorite for over 50 years.

    Now, let me tell you how to cook ’em.

    Steamed and slathered in lemon, butter and basil upon serving.

    Steamed and served with a cheddar cheese sauce with lots of garlic.

    Or, and this really does rock …

    Saute them in a frying pan (no cast iron) in half butter and half vegetable oil for a VERY long time at the lowest possible temperature. Cook ’em until they are almost black on the outside. Forget about that ‘sulfur’ crap. You are going to cook through that stage. When they are nice and black and getting almost crispy – stir in a bunch of butter and a pinch of sugar. Garlic is good.

    Little bitty bites o’ veggie candy!

    One more thing. Whenever you make sprouts make three times more than you’ll eat.

    Next day, make a nice cheesy/creamy soup and add a few sprouts that have been pureed and a handful of the whole sprouts.

    Cream of Brussel Sprout Soup.

    Comment by Steel — February 9, 2008 #

  7. Thank god you’re finally blogging again.

    I used to wonder how you managed to stay under 200 pounds given your penchant for slurpies and ‘energy’ drinks but I believe I now understand.

    It’s gotta be the sprouts.

    Comment by Mike — February 27, 2008 #

  8. I’ve always heard the best sprouts are ones collected after a frost. Does something to them…

    Comment by Mike — March 14, 2008 #

  9. In the uK we normally call them “Brussel sprouts” (But I’m dyslexic so don’t hold me to that) – although there is still only one result for “Hooray, Brussel Sprouts”

    Comment by Tim Wintle — April 23, 2008 #

  10. Monzy, The Belgians are in the top ten of the highest alcohol consumption rates in the world (per capita gallons of beer & wine). I suspect there are quite a few such myths circulating.

    I started following your blog a long time ago, but I stopped since the postings have been so few and far between. Do you think you could fix that? Thanks.

    Comment by Bruce — June 28, 2008 #

  11. Ok, so I’ll be trying Brussels Sprouts again I guess. Entertaining read, Thank you!

    Comment by Food Girl — September 1, 2008 #

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