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The Brussels sprouts story: From pariah to preferred
brussels sprouts drawing

My mum learnt to cook from her mum, who drew from the vast wealth of experience of pre-multicultural Australia. Her recipes are primarily pies, stews, casseroles and the classic meat and veg.

Mum worked from the theory that cooking releases the nutrients from the food. This led to years of vegetables cooked to the point of disintegration and did little to foster my love of vegetables. The Brussels sprouts fared the worst. The sprout is a bitter little pill. Releasing all the flavour is not the best method for serving up this particular delight.

My experience growing up tainted my choices when it came to buying vegetables. The very sight of a sprout in the supermarket would have me suppressing a gag. The situation would have continued if it hadn't been for the insistence of my ex-wife. For her family, sprouts were a staple at Christmas.

My university days, spent living off two-minute noodles, led me to an appreciation of food, and cooking became my hobby. So when I applied these skills to preparing the sprouts I was surprised to discover that they weren't completely terrible. For me the Brussels sprout went from detested to a staple in a short space of time. There is no leafy green that is as simple to prepare. And while I still don't love their flavour, I do enjoy them.

If the sprout causes you to gag, I suggest removing the leaves from the stalk and blanching to include in a salad or add to your next stir-fry. Then you too can experience the beauty of the Brussels sprout.

Todd Owen