Wednesday, December 12th, 2018

“I Don’t Like (insert food of choice here)” Stir-fried Brussel Sprouts

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I find it interesting when I hear adults spout off with great conviction that they don’t like certain foods. Only to find out, they haven’t eaten that particular food since their childhood. Or, maybe they have only had it prepared one way, and ONLY that way. Honestly, since I am such a foodie that is willing to explore so many culinary frontiers, I find it kind of unbelievable that these people would put such constraints on their taste buds. But, as it turns out, I now live with one of “these” people, which can sometimes be a challenge if I’m doing the cooking. But I’m working on him… slowly (The key is don’t push and act like I don’t care if he eats it or not. Sometimes, I go as far as stating that he won’t like it so don’t bother even trying it. Which, of course, makes him try it. Hee, hee, hee.)

The Infamous Brussels Sprout

Anyway, let’s look at a food that is notoriously in the “I don’t like” category: Brussels sprouts. Well, I guess either one or both of my parents did not like them because I did not even know what a Brussels sprout looked like until I was in my early twenties. And when I finally did see them, I thought they were baby cabbages. Their reputation preceded them, for sure. I had always heard of this mysterious hated vegetable, but never encountered it. I bet many of you think I was lucky.

It’s All In the Preparation

Well, the day that I finally ate Brussels sprouts (notice it is plural), I really liked them. “What was the big deal?” I thought, “These are delicious! Why are these things so infamously hated?” I found out the answer to that question this last spring while being an out-of-town guest. I was not “allowed” to do the cooking. So, I torturously watched my precious veggies get cooked to death as I politely held my tongue while they met their demise in the frying pan before me. Since I touted earlier of my love of these things, I had to take a fair share when dishing them out onto my plate at the dinner table. Oh yeah… you know what’s coming, don’t you? I took one bite of this dull-colored, once-green sprout. And not only did I have to restrain a disgusted facial expression, but I had to force a smile and act as if I was delighted (I guess my acting lessons were good for something). And I thought watching them get cooked was torturous… ha! In short, they were dry, mushy and bitter. Yuck! It all made sense now… okay, I “get” it.

Cook It More. Cook It Less. Add A Little of This. Add A Little of That.

Just so you know, I quickly cook my Brussels spouts in a skillet — usually with some olive oil and fresh garlic. Sometimes I also add a splash of soy sauce, or a little bit of butter and a squeeze of lemon. They end up bright green, crunchy, and slightly sweet. Yes, I said sweet. They’re delicious. Which brings me to my point: so many vegetables taste SO MUCH BETTER if they are quickly cooked. The flavor, color, and texture, stay intact, or are “brought out.” Plus, the nutrient value is higher than over-cooked food. Some foods are even better raw. Some people prefer slightly cooked rather than raw. But I have yet to meet someone that prefers over-cooked veggies to the previously mentioned (not to say they aren’t out there). However, as always, there are exceptions. Such as potatoes and certain greens, which need to be cooked a decent amount of time to be palatable. I didn’t think I liked cooked carrots until I had baby carrots that were steamed so they were NOT mushy. Collard greens is another vegetable that needs to be cooked a decent amount of time to be palatable as well (Before I learned about them, I once tried to eat them raw… a la salad style. It was not pleasant!)

Try It. You’ll Like It.

I leave you with this: think of a food that you THINK you do not like. Now I challenge you to go try it again, but have it prepared in a new way. Who knows? You might actually surprise yourself and like it!

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