In Praise of Brussels Sprouts

When Kermit sang “It’s not easy being green,” Brussels sprouts the world over identified with his predicament.

Because sprouts, like frogs, have had a bad rap.

They are the most unappreciated food crop that ever came out of the soil; more scorned than the swede, less tolerated than the turnip, more reviled than the runner bean.

But the leafy green spheres that practically everyone loves to hate are about to come into their own. Because December is The Month of the Brussels Sprout. And, as a vital component of Traditional Christmas Lunch, they’ll be cropping up among ‘the trimmings’ at a British restaurant near you.

Quite why, at Christmas, everyone rushes out to buy these dwarf cabbages by the kilo is a mystery, given their unpopularity throughout the rest of the year.

In 2001, Thomas Cook used them in an advertising campaign promoting Christmas holidays abroad to escape them!

Of course, anyone who booked for the Spanish Costas would almost certainly have met their nemesis here where, in British bars from Girona to the Campo de Gibraltar, come December 25th, you’ll be very fortunate indeed to escape the festive fumes (phew wiff) of cooked sprouts.

The noxious vapour they give off when boiling in water, and which they continue to exude as cold leftovers in the fridge, is not dissimilar to the smell of methane gas … as are the after-effects of eating them, roughly six hours later …