Defending the crucifers–again!

Today I’m reposting a previous submission.   Monday I had quite a bit to say about Brussel’s sprouts, and there is just something polarizing about these petite and to me, anyway, delicious orbs. But the reactions from others are rarely mild! While one person tells me they just LOVE them as I do, someone else joins the  same conversation and with wrinkled nose admits to being repulsed.  Since I obviously love them, I thought this was the time to trot out a previous post that encourages everyone to give them a try!  Here’s what I had to say several months ago:

“Pork, the other white meat” was followed by “the Incredible Edible Egg”—food with expensive PR campaigns.  I’d like to see the same kind of shift in public perception aimed at crucifers.  “Broccoli, your skin will thank you for it,” or “Give your liver a break, enjoy your cauliflower.”  You get the idea.  It’s funny how our childhood tastes sometimes carry over into adulthood and we hesitate to reassess them over time.  Taste buds do change, and with a little patience we might make new friends with old veggie foes. I don’t think I balked at all vegetables as a child, but I do recall how much I detested those in the cruciferous family…all of them.  Just the smell of broccoli or cauliflower was too much.  Brussels sprouts?  I only remember boiled and tasteless, and I schemed for any possible way to avoid eating them, including stuffing my pockets with what couldn’t be hidden under other food and later flushing away the evidence. The point is that although I now say I haven’t met a vegetable I don’t like, that was certainly not always true.

As a kid, being told that something is good for you doesn’t mean a thing.  But as we get older, we know the stakes for not eating well have higher consequences.  Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and in particular the much maligned and under appreciated Brussels sprout are all attributed with cancer protective properties which ought to make them a must-have. Since I actually crave Brussels sprouts, I presume I must need the particular micronutrients found in these little gems.  I eat them so frequently that even my granddaughter, Sophia, regularly locates them in Trader Joe’s and suggests her mom purchase them for me.

If the last time you tried some of these little green alien looking orbs was as a child, may I suggest you try again? And don’t even think about boiling or steaming them.  Cut them in half, toss with olive oil and maybe some garlic and shallots, then roast them for about 30 minutes. The amazing flavor will surprise you, and you may not even care that these antioxidant rich crucifers might also improve the odds against certain cancers and provide support in keeping skin cells younger. Be bold! Surprise your taste buds!

I would love to know your feelings about Brussel’s sprouts, and even other crucifers! If you have a favorite way to prepare them, do share! I’m always eager to learn new preparation options!

Want to know more?   Cancer Project / a Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) site.


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31 thoughts on “Defending the crucifers–again!

  1. Kathy Tiss

    Hi Deb,
    Since Gay has been layed up with her foot I thought she might enjoy your blogs. (I do)!!
    So I forwarded this one on to her. Hope you don’t mind!!!
    Thanks for sharing about the veggies!!

    1. Oh, I’m so glad you did, Kathy. I am sorry that I didn’t really know Gay was laid up! That’s terrible. I hope she enjoys it. If she checks in from time to time she could catch snippets of family news, right? I’m glad you’re enjoying this, and hope you eat your vegetables! Ha! D

  2. Andrea Thomson Viner @ Iowa Dog Blog

    I liked vegetables as a kid, but I HATED brussel sprouts! We only had them steamed, and I thought they smelled like sweaty feet. However, I recently discovered the joy of roasting vegetables (it’s kind of embarassing that I didn’t know you could roast all different vegetables), and I LOVE them! I roast them the same way you do, and I actually crave them now. Garlic makes everything better. 🙂

    1. It’s really true, Andrea…I think I could eat almost anything with garlic and olive oil, but I am now going to use your response to encourage some of my friends who still don’t believe me! Ha! I have been cooking a long, long time, and I didn’t begin roasting vegetables until about five years ago! I don’t remember who or how I got turned on to this method, but it so far surpasses any other cooking method…at least that’s what I think! In your snowy city right now, I think roasting may serve two purposes! Hugs to the dogs, Andrea! Debra

  3. Hello Debra,
    Thank you for your recent comment on my “Help!” I’m going to finish off the novitiate section of my story by the end of November. Then I have no idea where the muse of writing will take me. I’m just going with the flow. And I’ll be eating those crucifers as I do!


  4. I have always been of the belief that brussels sprouts were created just to torment the children of the world…until I took a “thank you” bite of your roasted veggies. What a delight!! I now try to incorporated the little “cabbages” in every meal that I cook. I have hooked several friends and even one of my girls to love them just as much. Now that I even know more about their benefits the more I plan on eating. 🙂 My mother would be proud that I know longer lob them like little baseballs out the window at dinnertime!

      1. YOU should take total credit!! Look who got me hooked back on cole slaw!! LOL! 🙂 Now I have Rebecca hooked on both….I didn’t think you saw me lob those!!! I will have to be sneakier!!

      2. Yes, you can retire happy, you have completed your task, getting myself and others hooked on cabbage and cabbage-like vegetables! LOL! 😀 Too funny!!! You still have more to share so I don’t think we will let you off the hook quite yet since we have so much to learn. Have a good beginning of your week!!

  5. When I was a kid I really hated Brussels sprouts. But I do like them, they are maybe still not my favourite vegetable, but for some dishes it’s clearly a must. Lovely picture of the kids!

    1. I’m glad to share pictures of my grandchildren. Thank you! I’m sure that so many people don’t like vegetables based on those original childhood impressions. As a child I could never have predicted my eventual enthusiasm. Isn’t that true of so many things! Thanks for stopping by, Otto. I do love your beautiful site! D

  6. Andrea Thomson Viner @ Iowa Dog Blog

    My brother also made a great brussel sprout salad for Thanksgiving last year, with cranberries and almonds, I think. I still need to download the recipe–it’s from the Food Network if anyone wants to search. If I find it, I’ll share.

  7. Dear Debra, here’s Dee again thanking you for commenting on my posting about donning the habit. As the years have passed, I have realized that the convent was trying to teach me to sacramentalize each thing and each moment. In the past several years, I have been reading about Buddhism and the practice of being mindful is, I think, the same thing. To live in the present and in the Source or whatever word speaks to us of the Oneness in which we live.

    1. You really inspire me, Dee. You have a beautiful way of expressing such deep and thoughtful considerations of life’s meaning, and spiritual mystery. I’m looking forward to your next “installment” of the story. Thank you! D

  8. Like you, I love Brussel sprouts especially as they are considered a super vegetable with nutrients galore… My family is not as interested in them but they try them now and again. 😉

    1. I think I’m going to serve some for Thanksgiving this year, Elizabeth. Although the larger family gathers at our house, I have plenty of help. Sometimes we end up with a rather eclectic side dish parade, so there will be plenty of things to off-set sprouts if I can’t appeal to everyone. I’ll lead by example!! If your family will even try them from time to time I think that’s pretty great! 🙂

  9. Once upon a time, a neighborhood boy convinced my cousin Ted and I that the little things wrapped up all tight on a bush in spring were Brussels Sprouts and that we should try eating some. We did. They were pretty good. The homeowner, however, was not at all amused to find us eating her peony buds. I remember my dad, giving me a lecture while trying not to laugh.

    I did grow up, and I love Brussels Sprouts, and crucifers as a family. Roasting them makes them all the much better. Have you roaster broccoli? Kale chips? Now, I’m getting hungry, Debra.

    1. Peony buds! That’s the funniest thing! I’m glad they’re not toxic…I would have wondered! This would be a funny post, Penny! I do occasionally roast broccoli, but I get a little heavy-handed…sometimes over do it and although it’s still good I wouldn’t want to serve it to anyone. It doesn’t look too appealing when the heat has blasted it too long. You’ll notice a theme in my cooking…put it in the oven and then I forget! But kale chips? I am sure I’ve heard of them, but no, I haven’t tried that. I must!! Thanks for sharing your story…I think that needs to be developed into your posting. It’s a really cute childhood story! D

      1. Just wash the leaves and cut them into smaller pieces. Salt, olive oil, hot oven. Yum.

        I actually did mention the peonie sprouts, Debra, but, maybe I’ll embellish upon the story come June. tee hee I mentioned eating them here, which was before you started reading me:

  10. The only vegetable I would eat as a young kid was sweetcorn! At 13 I turned vegetarian and my mum couldn’t believe it, she thought it was a phase. 25 years later and I’m still veggie. Two years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I have had the operation, chemo, radiotherapy, herceptin and am now taking tamoxifen. I feel better than ever and definitely attribute my swift recovery (when they removed the tumour they said it was completely dead) to diet and the natural supplements I take.While having treatment I removed sugar completely from my diet, including fruit which was the hardest thing and kept away from cow’s milk products (I still eat mainly goat’s & sheep milk products now). I take a fruit based supplement called Salvestrol which I believe helped kill the cancer, you can read about it online. Any way brussel sprouts, I have never liked them but you have convinced me to give them another try with your roasting method, it sounds lovely!!

    1. Thank you, Natalie, for sharing your story! I am so new to reading your blog, I wonder if you have previously touched upon your personal journey within that format? You do have a lot to share that encourages others, I’m sure! I am actually quite fascinated that you turned vegetarian at 13! You had a lot of conviction and resolve very early in life! No doubt that has helped take you through the journey of your cancer and recovery. I am interested in reading about Salvestrol, and will! Now when I read your wonderful blog and literally digest those gorgeous photos, I’ll know a little history behind your choices. You know I’m a big fan! Ha! If you never learn to like sprouts, I think you’re good! You certainly creatively prepare a lot of others! But if you do, you’ll find a way of making them even more delicious, so I would want to know! Continued good health, and I truly mean that! Debra

  11. I love Brussels sprouts, just trimmed, microwaved for three minutes and dressed with lemon juice. I like broccoli, except in broccoli soup where it tends to get overcooked. I used to hate cauliflower — turns out it was the cheese sauce I hated: now I make it with gorgonzola and cumin seeds and everyone is happy. My favorite way to eat cabbage is a fried Indian preparation, involving coconut, turmeric and chilies. Kale, I’m still working on, but I just had a wonderful kale salad in New Mexico that had half a cup of lemon juice in it and some tahini.

    1. Oh my, Sharyn. I feel like you really take veggies and kick them up a notch. It’s funny how little imagination I have in this regard. I have never even just added lemon to the microwaved sprouts, but what a simple addition. In a dozen years I wouldn’t have imagined gorgonzola and cumin seeds with cauliflower, but this suggestion just makes my mouth water. These are all very inspiring..and mouth watering! Thank you! D

      1. Thanks, Debra. When I eat Indian food or Thai food I pay attention to how it is seasoned. I particularly love Indian vegetable dishes — if I could only eat one kind of food forever it would be food from India. The gorgonzola and cumin seeds for cauliflower came from my farm newsletter: they found it on somebody’s blog…

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