You’re cooking sprouts all wrong, says expert

Sprouting nonsense? Brussels are Britain’s third most hated food, after liver and fish.

They are the nation’s most hated vegetable, and yet Asda will sell 140 million Brussels sprouts in the two weeks before Christmas. Love them or hate them, why do we care so much about them?

What’s happening

Why do so many people hate Brussels sprouts? Everyone has an opinion. The most common complaint is that they are too bitter. Some scientists think it might be our DNA: only 50% of us have a gene called TAS2R38, which allows us to taste the bitter chemical in sprouts.

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Now Britain’s leading sprout expert has a new theory: we have been cooking them all wrong. Boiling them makes them ‘turn soggy and rubbish,’ said Matthew Rawson. Cutting a cross in the bottom is even worse, as it lets in more water. ‘People who do that have ruined the Brussels sprout.’ His idea? Steaming, frying, or even microwaving them.

However they are cooked, the little green vegetables will be sure to cause arguments at Christmas dinners up and down the country during the festive season.

But why? Why are people more interested in arguing about Brussels sprouts than about more important things? The answer might lie in the idea that the the simpler a subject, the more we talk about it. Should we discuss more meaningful topics?

Some say…

Arguments about whether we are fond of sprouts or whether we like tomato ketchup are a complete waste of time. People form much more meaningful relationships when they talk about the really important things in life, like our views on the existence of God or the best way to run a country. That would be much more interesting.

Others think…

It is the little things, like food and our top three Christmas songs, which make life so special— and there is nothing wrong with that. The whole family can discuss these things quite happily without offending each other or upsetting anyone. There is no need to sneer at such topics on Christmas Day.

You Decide

  1. Do you like Brussels sprouts?


  1. Write down your top three things to talk about and compare your choices with those of your friends.

Some People Say...

“Vegetables can be delicious.”

What do you think?

Word Watch

Capital city of Belgium (said to be the first place sprouts became popular).
Stands for Deoxyribonucleic acid, the material present in all living organisms. It carries genes. See below.
A characteristic — like blue eyes or bad eyesight — passed down from parents to their children.
A distinct substance, especially something that has been deliberately created for a specific use.
A remark or look which shows you view something as inferior.


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