Those Cute Little Sprouts

We had an interesting culinary adventure the other night. On a whim, I decided to purchase some fresh Brussels sprouts from the grocery store. “Why are we having those?” asked my daughter as I began to prepare dinner. A fair question.

Brussels sprouts are not regular guests at our table. For one thing, they don’t look particularly appetizing. At least tomatoes and carrots are bright and festive-looking. Brussels sprouts, on the other hand, rank right up there with potted meat as food least likely to be used as a decorative garnish. Besides that, any food that makes you sound like a leaky bicycle tire when saying its name (just try pronouncing all four “s” sounds) is starting out with a bit of a handicap.

I admit it: I eat vegetables with almost as much reluctance as my kids do. Salad? Sure, I’ll eat it, as long as it’s loaded with high-fat dressing, croutons, and maybe some grated cheddar cheese. Other vegetables? Well, I like lettuce and tomatoes on my cheeseburger...

Once, in a fit of temporary insanity and nutritional productivity (always a dangerous combination), I planted a vegetable garden. Of course, not many of those veggie seedlings survived my decidedly un-green thumb. I did manage to produce an impressive crop of okra plants. Enough, in fact, to feed a small army of farm hands three times a day. Not that any farm hands would have wanted to eat them. When I attempted to make the tasty, crunchy fried okra I had as a child at my grandmother’s house, I ended up with something that resembled slimy bamboo. The okra crop was more an interesting landscaping curiosity than a source of food.

Nevertheless, I decided to take my chances with Brussels sprouts. I’d read about how they have a deliciously subtle nutty flavor. An under-appreciated vegetable.

Finally the family was assembled and the food set out. My kids stared in horrified fascination at the strange green objects on their plates. “Aren’t they cute?” I said brightly. “They’re like miniature heads of lettuce!” Somehow that failed to fire their imaginations.

Then it came time to eat. My oldest obediently swallowed green blob after green blob with grim determination. My second continued to stare, unmoving. My youngest ignored the sprouts and cheerfully ate the rest of her meal.

So maybe they were kind of cute (the Brussels sprouts, not the kids). Still, the dish wasn’t much of a hit. But I have an idea of how to make my kids appreciate Brussels week I’ll whip up a batch of Mom’s Famous Slimed Okra. I can add a big dollop of potted meat on the side. After that, they’ll be begging for those nutty-tasting Brussels sprouts.

On second thought, maybe I’ll just stick with cheeseburgers. Ketchup counts as a vegetable, right?


What event in the Annapolis area are you most looking forward to in 2006?

Powerboat Show
Sailboat Show
Renaissance Festival
Seafood Festival
County Fair

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