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September 24, 2008

Make History With Brussel Sprouts


There are always two sides to history. There is the side that is patiently and carefully pieced together based on research and interpretation, and there is the other side that is created largely out of imagination and thin air. The first is stodgy, boring and unfun.


So, let us ignore it, and pretend that it doesn’t exist for a moment.


Now that this is settled, let us look at history through that other prism as it relates to the Brussel sprout.


Most historians look at a Brussel sprout and cringe. It looks wholly unappetizing, tough and very much like a cabbage. In fact, the name Brussel sprout is the twisting and perverting of the vegetable’s original name, which when translated from the original is in fact, “Wee people’s cabbage.”


It has been established that the Brussel sprout was a staple food of a race of elves who ruled the world between the years 1865, when they won the American Civil War, and 1912, when their King Gustavus was jailed on trumped up charges involving a mule. This is history, just as true as the brand that tells us that the so-called Wright Brothers flew something called an “airplane” in the sands of North Carolina.


In fact, Gustavus was ravenous for Wee people’s cabbage, and it is in honor of this underappreciated period of history that his favorite recipe is offered here.


Take your Brussel sprouts, trim the bottoms off and cut in half. You will want to do this to several per person. Also slice thinly a shallot, which is a cross between a garlic clove and an onion in much the same way that a mule is the cross between a male donkey and a female horse (‘cept a lot different).


Once these are done, fry a slice of bacon in the bottom of a skillet until crisp. Remove and crumble, but leave the bacon grease in the skillet.


Lay the Brussel sprouts in the bacon grease, cut side down into the grease and then spread the shallots on top.


Once the Brussel sprouts have begun to turn a lustrous green and the bottoms have crusted over, pop them over. Although the Brussel sprout is a food of few talents, one of those is that when squeezed with tongs that it will pop over on its own. Do this to all the sprouts. Allow to cook a few minutes.


Once soft, add some chicken broth to the bottom of the pan and sprinkle the crumbled bacon into it. The chicken broth will kick up the crusty little bits of bacon that remain seared to the skillet.


Squeeze lemon juice over, and mix everything. It will turn into a sauce, which you complete with several generous pinches of Parmesan cheese. You are finished when you sprinkle over the top roasted pine nuts, which will complement the nutty qualities of the Brussel sprouts themselves.


Transfer to a plate, look in the mirror and wink at the person looking back. Both of you have just made history.


© 2008 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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