Brussels Sprouts…Never Again!

10 09 2011

"These are yukky!"

I recall, when I was five years old, fighting with my mother over Brussels sprouts. She wanted me to eat them and I didn’t want to. Brussels sprouts runs a distant second to Fleet (see the earlier post The Colonoscopy) on my list of the worst things I ever had in my mouth.

I’m experienced enough to know that tastes change and what tasted terrible to me at an earlier age might be perfectly palatable later in life. And, I’m adult enough to be willing to taste something I hated as a kid.

I was in St. Louis recently and went out to dinner at a nice restaurant. It was no Essex House mind you, but it was a notch or two above Applebee’s. I always feel, even though I know better, that if a restaurant employs a professional chef then anything that comes out of the kitchen will be good. I learned that presumption was a little too presumptuous one night at a four-star seafood restaurant in San Francisco when I ordered calamari-another dish I hate. It still tasted like calamari.

Still, when I saw grilled Brussels sprouts on the menu, seeing this as an opportunity to test that presumption once again, I decided to give them a try. Who knows, maybe I’ll like them now. I mean, I like vegetables and cabbage is one of my favorites and these were like little cabbages. What’s not to like?

I ordered the grilled Brussels sprouts to accompany my N.Y. Strip. When my meal came, I thought to myself, they looked good enough. My, how soon we forget. Rather than taking a little taste, I popped one into my mouth. I’m afraid my response wasn’t very adult-like.

You know that feeling you get when you’re having a conversation with a stranger on a plane and they spray spit that hits you on the lips? The polite thing is probably to reach up and indiscreetly wipe your lips dry, but what you really want to do is run to the restroom and slather soap all over your mouth and wash it off, then whip out the hand sanitizer and wipe your face down. I needed to get rid of that thing, and fast so I pulled my napkin to my mouth and deposited it there.

These things can’t be vegetables! This can’t be part of nature’s bounty grown in the fertile soil of Oliver Douglas’ Green Acres garden. It tasted more like something that came from Lisa Douglas’ stove. Anything this bad must be man-made like motor oil or Fleet. I envisioned an assembly line at a factory in Peoria, Illinois where illegal emigrants sat gluing calamari skin onto Styrofoam cores with Gorilla Glue, painting them green and then packing them inside bags marked Brussels sprouts.

How do people eat these things? Is it an acquired taste like bourbon or chewing tobacco? Think about it- what was the reaction of the first individual who popped a chaw of tobacco into his mouth? Or a better question is what made him want to do it again? Why would anyone repeat the experience after spitting out their first Brussels sprout? Some tastes I don’t want to acquire.

There aren’t many foods, particularly vegetables, that I don’t like but it appears Brussels sprouts will forever be on my short list.




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