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Brussels sprouts - food, or foul? - helen-louise
Brussels sprouts - food, or foul?
Something cool I discovered today: Waitrose have walking stick holders on their shopping trolleys! How awesome is that? I'm used to having to balance my stick over the handle and hoping it doesn't fall off as I go round the shop (because I really don't want the end that touches the ground lying in the trolley alongside my food). I expect they also work for umbrellas - some shapes of umbrella, anyway.

Richard and I had an "argument" last night about the number of Brussels sprouts that a person would consume at Christmas, given all the other vegetables we are preparing. I thought that 4-6 would be the right sort of number, my mum thought it would be more like 6-8. Richard won by pointing out that the number that a "normal" person would consume is zero.

Poll #1503127 The Great Brussels Sprouts Quiz of 2009!

Do you like Brussels sprouts?

No - they are little green balls of Satan!
I don't like them, but I respect other people's right to call them food.
I am totally ambivalent. If you put sprouts in front of me I will eat them, if you don't I won't mind.
I like sprouts, but they don't like me! (They give me digestive woes).
Sprouts are lovely! What's all the fuss about?

If I was feeling more brain-full I could extend the questions to ask about other cabbagey things (I personally love white cabbage in raw or cooked form, and red cabbage raw, but don't care for cooked red cabbage or any kind of green cabbage), but that would take Effort which I should probably be spending on tidying up the house before our visitors tomorrow. We have decided not to make it TIDY (because that is impossible with the time available), but there needs to be enough chair and table space for everyone, and currently all conceivable surfaces are covered with books, tv and video game controllers, plushie toys, cameras, bits of circuit board, screwdrivers...

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Current Mood: amused amused

34 comments or Leave a comment
_nicolai_ From: _nicolai_ Date: 24th December 2009 19:53 (UTC) (Link)
Since I am doing the cooking tomorrow, and I have once had a brussels sprout I did not hate, I am giving the sprouts one last chance: I have bought a stick of sprouts and I am going to steam them until tender and no more, and then I am going to see if they still taste like the awfulness of an entire bitter cabbage concentrated into an object the size of a golf ball, or not.
ailbhe From: ailbhe Date: 24th December 2009 20:40 (UTC) (Link)
Nutmeg or mace is great with sprouts or spinach.
From: hattifattener Date: 24th December 2009 20:15 (UTC) (Link)
I have once had a brussels sprout that I enjoyed, but so many other times have not— including once a meal made by a professional chef for the express purpose of demonstrating that brussels sprouts could be tasty— that I can't consider myself to like brussels sprouts. I ticked "balls of Satan" on the theory that their occasional enjoyability is just their diabolical plot to trick me. I generally enjoy other cabbageoids, though.
nmg From: nmg Date: 24th December 2009 20:40 (UTC) (Link)
Waitrose have walking stick holders on their shopping trolleys!

I think that they're the holders for the self-scan devices. At least, that's what they seem to be for in our Waitrose.

Still, improvisation is next to godliness, or something like that.
baratron From: baratron Date: 26th December 2009 03:48 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, you had to go and spoil it for me, didn't you :(
ailbhe From: ailbhe Date: 24th December 2009 20:41 (UTC) (Link)
I want the option that says "I believe the research that showed some people have a taste-gene that allows them to taste the bitter ick in sprouts and some people don't; I love them but quite understand that others find them gagworthily vile."

I will eat the leftover sprouts cold while I'm clearing the table.
xiphias From: xiphias Date: 25th December 2009 01:21 (UTC) (Link)
I'm with you 100% on this. My cousin Todd and I were discussing this one day -- he and I both love sprouts; both our wives can't stand 'em.
syllopsium From: syllopsium Date: 24th December 2009 20:58 (UTC) (Link)
Sprouts are lovely, but easy to over or undercook. Combine with chestnuts and optionally a bit of bacon..
therealocelot From: therealocelot Date: 24th December 2009 21:10 (UTC) (Link)
I honestly don't know if I've ever had brussels sprouts.

Either my mom or dad is very adverse to them, so we never had them when I was growing up. I seem to recall having had them sometime as an adult, but I'm not sure enough. If so, they weren't notable enough one way or the other to have made a strong impression on me.
maniackatie From: maniackatie Date: 24th December 2009 21:28 (UTC) (Link)
"No - they are little green balls of Satan!"

I couldn't resist voting for that one. In truth, I don't hold it against others if they like them... I just don't want them eating 'em in the same room as me XP
lovingboth From: lovingboth Date: 24th December 2009 21:50 (UTC) (Link)
When I was a child, we visited my paternal grandmother and she served the yucky things. I did not want to finish mine, but she promised me ice cream if I did. So I forced myself to do so. I did not get ice cream... and that was the last time I have ever eaten them.
redbird From: redbird Date: 24th December 2009 23:34 (UTC) (Link)
Did she really think it was worth teaching the lesson "you cannot believe or trust your grandmother" to get you to eat a few more Brussels sprouts? People are strange.
From: griffen Date: 24th December 2009 21:57 (UTC) (Link)
I cook brussels sprouts with bacon and pine nuts. They always turn out delicious. The trick to making them non-bitter is removing the stem and core, just like with any cabbage.
From: artremis Date: 24th December 2009 23:45 (UTC) (Link)
they are on if the few leafy things i actually like the taste off (others are savoy cabbage and red cabbage (but only when it's cooked the right way cooked). But being leaves i can only eat small amounts of them without having digestive woes - so i only bother with really nicely cooked ones
baratron From: baratron Date: 26th December 2009 05:47 (UTC) (Link)
Shouldn't you have ticked the "I like sprouts, but they don't like me! (They give me digestive woes)." option then? ;)

I was sure that someone would get IBS from sprouts, they're so sulphurous. And even completely healthy people get wind from them. Mmm, sprout fart smell :D
stellarwind From: stellarwind Date: 25th December 2009 00:53 (UTC) (Link)
I don't believe I've ever even -had- them. O_o
xiphias From: xiphias Date: 25th December 2009 01:19 (UTC) (Link)
Brussels sprouts contain two separate bitter compounds. One of them is destroyed by heating, and the other is intensified by heat.

So, in the base case, there is NO degree of cooking or not-cooking that will remove bitterness from brussels sprouts.

The thing is -- some people lack the receptor for one of those chemicals. Me, I lack the receptors for BOTH. To me, brussels sprouts don't taste bitter at ALL, no matter if they're steamed lightly, served raw, boiled until they're nearly mushy -- they ALL taste good to me.

However -- if you can taste the heat-destroyed one, but not the heat-intensified one, you can eat them well-cooked but not lightly cooked. Or contrariwise, vice-versa. Or, if you can taste them both, the whole vegetable is a total loss for you.

For most people, it's actually a genetically-determined flavor detection that determines whether they like brussels sprouts.

Other cabbage-family things contain similar compounds, in different concentrations.
brooksmoses From: brooksmoses Date: 25th December 2009 02:51 (UTC) (Link)
I suspect that also whether they're a total loss if one cat taste both bitter compounds depends on one's feelings about bitter foods. I think the Chinese people who came up with dishes involving bitter melon could taste the bitterness (and I certainly could when I ate it, and I like it), so it's not a universal dislike. Pairing it with sour and sweet seems to cut the bitter quite a bit.
From: the_ogre Date: 25th December 2009 01:59 (UTC) (Link)

I fear I cannot answer your poll

You didn't have an option for "yes, if they are cooked in a fashion that I like, otherwise nope".

Because fresh ones, split and then browned in garlic butter and lightly salted? Really damn good. But oversteamed, or boiled? Ick.
dannilion From: dannilion Date: 25th December 2009 12:43 (UTC) (Link)
I said I'm ambivalent, but in reality I only like them if cooked by Sammie's nanna, who can somehow make them not icky. How she does this I'm not sure, but Sammie gets to eat her food everyday so she's very lucky :P
firecat From: firecat Date: 25th December 2009 21:09 (UTC) (Link)
For me it's somewhere in between the first two. I respect other people's right to call them food, but I will recoil if I'm suddenly in proximity to one.

The other day at the deli I was looking at a salad that looked like it had artichoke hearts in it. I asked what was in it and was told "brussels sprouts" and I couldn't help making a face.

I even tried brussels sprouts prepared by my favorite celebrity chef, Ron Siegel, and hated them. So don't tell me that I would like them if only I'd tasted them prepared properly.
treacle_well From: treacle_well Date: 26th December 2009 20:52 (UTC) (Link)
Heh. If I'd been told it was artichoke hearts, I'd have made the face.
34 comments or Leave a comment