Monday, March 14, 2011

I thought nothing could ruin dinner faster...

Brussels sprouts, blech.  As far as I was concerned, the only thing worse than those little nasty cabbage like sprouts were lima beans.  Actually, lima beans still rank at the bottom of my list!
As a kid, Dad loved them.  I don’t think anyone else was much of a fan.  Though, my distaste for those gruesome balls of green was far greater, I think.
And what’s worse?  They were usually from the freezer. 
Oh wait, it gets worse still.  If they were served on my plate, I had to eat them, all of them.  My taste buds cried out in horror.
It’s not as if I was a kid with a limited palette.  While most kids’ favorite food item was from the more standard fair of pizza, tacos, or spaghetti, I loved seafood, a mean stir fry, and even shucked oysters on the rare occasion I visited family in Virginia.
But, brussels sprouts?  No. Thank. You.
Brussels sprouts were on my hit list back then and continued to reside there well into my thirties.
I was madly shopping for our 2010 Thanksgiving dinner and by my fourth grocery store, I still had not picked up a vegetable when I saw this gorgeous baseball bat sized stalk with dozens of green bulbs climbing it.  So struck by its beauty, it took me a few minutes to realize what it was.
I’d come upon those dreaded brussels sprouts, presented in its organic state and suddenly I couldn’t take my eyes off of them.  As much as the flaming orange, red, and yellow bell peppers sang out to me, or the comforting cry of our favorite friend, zucchini, called, or the green bean Thanksgiving standard whispered my name, I was deaf to all of them.  My eyes were locked on my target and would not deviate until I gave in.
I left wondering what on earth I was doing. Had I lost my mind?  Seriously, had I just ruined our Thanksgiving meal?  And my goodness, what would my husband think?  He couldn’t stand brussels sprouts just as much, if not more.  Considering he was cooking, I thought I was crazy not to factor his distaste for them into the equation!
To my surprise, he started laughing when I pulled out that big green, bulbous stick…I mean, stalk.  He quickly had the kids giggling as well.  And suddenly, he was game to give brussels sprouts one more try.
We opted to roast them as we had yet to miss with that method.  And just in case they were as hideous as we remembered, he fried up a couple strips of bacon to crumble on top.  He rationalized that everything is better with bacon.
Thanksgiving day, everyone watched the sprouts come off the stalk, one by one, as if it was a grand new spectator sport.  Those of us in the peanut gallery had many a how-to opinion to offer.  And then they were off the stalk, halved, misted with olive oil, sprinkled with a wee bit of salt, and into the oven they went.
Sitting down to the dining table for dinner with a beautiful turkey, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, the most scrumptious dressing, and those roasted brussels sprouts.  I was apprehensive, to say the least.
We grownups, having been tainted by nasty balls of green on our plates as kids, had to put on brave faces to try our first bites.  But, the kids, who had been so excited by our new brussels sprout adventure, they dove straight in.
Eyes widened.  Could this really be?  Our surprise was palpable.  And our conclusion was drawn with that first cautious bite.
Move over artichoke!  Move over zucchini!  Move over bell peppers, cauliflower, Japanese eggplant, spinach, crooked neck squash, and all varieties of tomato!
Move on over and make room for another favorite vegetable to join the ranks!
Brussels sprouts.  No bacon needed.  Who knew?!

Thanksgiving 2010 Brussels Sprouts
Roasting them was the key for us and bacon never again necessary!

This tale o' brussels sprout was in response to the RemembeRED prompt to write about our favorite fresh fruit or vegetable, from The Red Dress Club.


  1. Your stories always make me smile! This one is no exception. And P.S. I have always LOVED brussels sprouts!

  2. I'm ready to paint my computer green and shove it in my mouth! SERIOUSLY, Kare! Gosh, you should write food reviews - make a cookbook - SOMETHING! That sounds delish! I had a strange and scary roommate in college and my description of measurement to emphasize how miserable was "he EATS brussel sprouts ALL the time and makes our house stink to high heaven!" In hindsight, the guy was probably fit as a fiddle! But he STEAMED the little suckers - OH, gads! Nasty! MY MOM: who always claims to be "making it different!" Wooed me to the "green" side a few Thanksgivings ago with some balsamic roasted sprouts and THEY really and truly were {don't let my mom read this...} LIKE CANDY!

    The standard ALL nasty food was measured by! NOW, finally, I get it! Pass me some - would ya! Yipeee

  3. Wow, you weren't kidding about my being in your head!
    And I've TOTALLY been wanting to try them right off the stalk, since I saw them at a farmer's market last summer! LOL

  4. I need to try this. Roasting them that is. My husband won't touch 'em with a 10-foot fork though, no matter how I cook them. But I actually like them. Those look delicious. Love that you all gave them another try.

  5. Do I dare admit this out loud?

    I've never had brussel sprouts!

    Isn't that pure CRAZY?

    It's like a right of passage or something!

    But this recipe? On my list.

    Some crazy vegetable lady should be proud right now. Very, very proud.

    :) Great post!

  6. I've heard that roasted brussel sprouts are really good. I'll have to try it. I love veggies otherwise. Just not fruit. Lol. Great post!

  7. You did a great job with this prompt! I, for one, LOVE brussel sprouts. Seriously, they are one of my favorite veggies. You're right - they are beautiful on the stalk. Now I think I need to make some for dinner this week. ;)

  8. LOL...I LOVE it...this post had me smiling...I grew up with Lima grandmother made them...I'm going to gross you out..but they were them...come on, anything with sugar is good.

    Brussel spouts...I love seeing them on the stalk...I too was mesmerized when I saw them that way at Trader Joe's one day at lunch...had to call over my friend to show her. I adore Brussel sprouts and will have to try the roasting but we fry them up in butter...mmmm...butter:) that's genius.

  9. I was smiling through this whole story! I loved the circle the brussel sprouts made :)

    Great writing!

  10. Ewww...I hate brussel sprouts. Just the smell of them cooking makes me gag.

    But maybe roasted would be good...


    Visiting from RDC

  11. I've never tried brussel sprouts, I've always been afraid to because so many people say they don't like them! But reading this definitely makes me want to give them a chance. Loved the whole post, it was really entertaining and a cool glimpse into your life.

  12. I hated brussel sprouts as a kid and I haven't had the guts to try them again. I don't think The Hubs will ever give them a second chance. I love that you did though and ended up loving them.

  13. I love the way you told this story, and so glad you chose Brussels sprouts. They are one of my favorite veggies now - nutty and delicious when roasted with salt and olive oil just as you describe. Yum!

  14. How? How on earth did you make brussel sprouts sound so good???

    This makes me think I should give them another try. My last attempt to eat them was in 1986 when I looked at a pile of green slimey balls on my plate and gagged.

    Your method sounds way better.

  15. Brussell sprouts were always on our family's table for holiday meals. I thought there were disgusting. One year, my dad talked me into eating one. It didn't go over well and I ended up so sick the next morning that my dad promised he'd never make me eat one again.

    Lately, I've sort of been wanting to give them another shot.

  16. I loved this, it was funny and warm and so close to home for me. I too had an aversion to brussel sprouts and then met someone whose favorite vegetable was the sprout so I mustered up my courage and tried again. Move over peppers, zucchini indeed! They are now a stable in our house put in everything from soups to salads to simply roasted.

  17. yum! I love roasted brussel sprouts! so good. and yes, everything is better with bacon. well done! I really enjoyed this piece. and now I want brussel sprouts.

  18. I love brussels sprouts. My husband won't touch them. So I never cook them at home. But if we're out to eat and they are on the menu I am one happy girl. Love a roasted brussels sprout salad too. Not sure where you live, but Pizza Antica here in N. California has a salad you would love.

  19. roasted brussel sprouts are actually a thing to fight over. Mushy ones? Not so much.

  20. You're so funny!! Your stories are great!
    Okay girl, I have to tell you...I grew up with the same dislikes on these two guys (still HATE the lime beans!) But roasted brussel sprouts ROCK!!! My hubby makes them too! I'll have to try to add bacon! yummy!!
    Thanks for stopping by the blog, I am SO out of the loop! Trying to get back in!! Slowly!!! Even back on Twitter, yayyyyyy! lol xOxO

  21. Brussels Sprouts have been my arch nemesis since the Nixon administration. I battled those suckers through three more administrations, Ford, Carter and Reagan and then I put my foot down.

    I simply refused to eat them. So while I applaud your efforts I cannot say that I intend to join you on the dark side any time soon.

  22. Roasting is the ONLY way to go with Brussel Sprouts.

  23. Your tale makes me what a bulbous stick of my own! Roasted with olive oil sounds like it didthe trick!

  24. Impressive that the kids ate them with gusto! I can't stand the things. Great job telling this story!

  25. I had never tried brussel sprouts until 2 years ago and when I did they were son was with me and fell in love with them too. He actually requests them. We roast and I sautee with some sesame oil. I totally dug that Trader Joes was selling the stalk - make sit a little more fun!

  26. How crazy is this? I had these EXACT brussel sprouts in August at a GF's house! She just roasted with sea salt and olive oil...heaven. And I HATE lima beans. With a passion. Bacon would not even get me to try them. We are long lost sisters! I knew it!

  27. Yum! Almost makes ME want to try them......ALMOST

  28. Interesting...I MAY have to try this! (Still not sure if I could be sold on the BS - ha!)

  29. Okay..I'm not sure HOW you did it..but me..the HATER of brussel wants them more then anything! But I'm going to wait until August when I can get them fresh..and then..IT'S ON LIKE DONKEY KONG! And hopefully as awesome as it too! ;)

  30. I didn't try a brussel sprout till I was 29. My husband still fights against them. My parents think I'm crazy- they are both lifelong brussel sprout haters.
    My son is undecided.

  31. Hi Karen, I always dreaded Brussel Sprouts too. They were so horrible when I was a kid. My mom just boiled them and we new we were having them for dinner just by the smell of the house. When my son made them once cut in salted and put into a pan with some olive oil they were to my surprise very good! He introduced them again and now we love them. J

  32. i never thought Id be tempted to try them... way to go on nailing the prompt!!

  33. Wow. That looks delicious. I need to give brussel sprouts a try... I don't think I've ever had them. :(


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