I have unpleasant memories of sitting at the dinner table long after other people’s plates had been cleared while my Dad tried to coach, encourage, entreat and eventually threaten me to eat my veggies. Brussel sprouts were one of those detestable food items which cost me precious TV hours and increased my time alone in my room.
Those little heads of cabbage would stare up at me from my plate, while their gag-reflex-inducing aroma wafted through the air. Why anyone would want to eat them was a mystery to me.
So it was with trepidation that I sat down to dinner with friends in Brooklyn eight weeks ago and realized that nearly 30 years had passed since I last found myself staring at odd vegetable. Here I was with new friends, in their home, with Brussel sprouts. Would I eat them? Would I gag? Would I lose TV privileges and have to spend the next hour or so alone at their table with those sprouts? And why are they named after the capital of Belgium?
Did you know that over time our taste buds change? This is especially true when we are young. One week a child may not like broccoli, but the next week they may love it. Apparently, my taste buds have changed in 30 years, for now I like Brussel sprouts. I ate them tentatively at our friends’ house. And then, when I read how good they are for your body, how packed with vitamin A and C, fiber and other wonderful anti-cancer, pro-brain nutrients, I knew I had to give them another chance.
The big shock came when I was the chef for the Gale Family Mother’s Day Celebration and chose to put Brussel Sprouts on the menu honoring three generations of Gale Mothers. One of the dishes I prepared was a time-intensive, though absolutely delicious dish with Brussel sprouts, balsamic vinegar and bacon (this link will take you to a similar recipe) though I used pepperoni since I didn’t have any bacon on hand. It went over really well with Mike and the women in my family.
Then last night Mike made a stir fry with red and yellow peppers and Brussel sprouts. Home run! Filling, tasty, and he even threw in two turkey meatballs.
All this to say that I think I’ve finally made peace with my old arch enemy the Brussel Sprout. Perhaps tonight I will try them with Parmesan cheese.