day 14, trying new things and brussel sprouts (related)

Confession time. I have managed to make it 25 years without ever tasting a brussels sprout. I’m not sure whether this accomplishment merits pride or shame but no matter because the streak ended yesterday. There are many wonderful ideas powering the Whole30- no sugar, mindful eating etc., but what sealed the deal for me was the absolute restriction. Why? Because while it may seem daunting and downright scary to remove some of these items (what will I eat!?), we are almost forced to try new things. I’m a pretty adventurous eater right now, not as much as my brother who only yesterday ate a fish eye, but I’ll try and enjoy almost anything. But I didn’t start out this way. In fact, when I was younger I refused anything outside of my favorite food group: beige. Seriously, until I was in 7th grade I ate ketchup and beige for almost every meal. Because I never tried anything I assumed I hated it all and subsequently missed out on some awesome staples most kids love. Examples; I ate my first peach at the age of 14 (although, it was from an outdoor market and enjoyed while sitting on bridge in Florence so maybe it was worth the wait), I refused to eat tomatoes except in puree until I was 19, two days ago I tried an o-so-cute clementine, and yesterday I conquered sprouts. It’s never too late to find your next favorite food. Except for mushrooms, it’s already too late for mushrooms. 

Back to sprouts… A quick google led me to countless recipes, most promising variations on ‘you’ll never even know you’re eating brussels sprouts!’, and utilizing bacon. Now don’t get me wrong, I love bacon. The salty/ sweet combination of flavors and fatty meat is something altogether wonderful, but the same flavors which make me love bacon also completely over power the attempts of more delicate food. Hence, the practice of adding it to less appealing dishes. (In this way, bacon wrapped scallops have always been a puzzle to me- scallops are so delightful (and expensive!) on their own that I’ve never understood eclipsing them with bacon.) Since am naive when it comes to sprouts, and even though bacon and sprouts is probably delicious, I wanted to actually taste and appreciate the sprouts on their own.

Here’s what I did.


left- roasted, right-pan seared

Sprouts 2 ways Ina Garten Roasted Brussels Sprouts  and  Seared Brussels Sprouts

Wow. When I said it is never to late to find your new favorite food, I meant it. These may be my new favorite. If there had been anyone other than my cat in the room, I would have been struck speechless. Similar to a french fry, the sprouts were a perfect vehicle for salt and fat and also had a nutty flavor all their own. I almost ate the entire lb standing at my kitchen island. MOM, WHY HAVE WE NEVER HAD THESE BEFORE?!?! Suffice to say, I will be making these again and now knowing their flavor I will experiment with more complex recipes… I hear reduced balsamic on sprouts is delicious.

A few notes- I found removing the dark green outer leaves made a world of difference. Also, the stem is tough, and not very edible so I will cut them a little more in the future. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to let them brown or even blacken. This is where the magic happens. The best sprouts of the bunch were also the darkest.

I’ve mentioned snacking on sweet potatoes a few times so it may come as a surprise that I do not actually like sweet potatoes. Am I forcing them down? No. My biggest problem with the orange tubers is their overly sweet taste, but as a result of trying new things I have discovered Hannah (or white) sweet potatoes! White sweet potatoes are light skinned and cream colored inside until cooked when they turn a golden yellow. They are less sweet and more starchy than traditional orange sweet potatoes and my coworker described their taste as “the most butter-y, whipped, mashed potatoes” he’s ever had. When I told him they were sweet potatoes he was stunned and immediately asked where he could find them (next to the jewel, garnet and purple sweet potatoes at the grocery store).


While making dinner I usually bake a small sweet potato or two that way they are done right when I’m packing up leftovers/my lunch.

Sweet potato snack

small hannah (white) sweet potato

Using knife/fork poke many small holes around the sweet potato. Bake at 400*F for 45 minutes-1 hour or longer depending on size of tuber. Enjoy with clarified butter and some salt (my favorite way), a bit of coconut oil and cinnamon, or any way you like. Yum and super easy.

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2 Responses to day 14, trying new things and brussel sprouts (related)

  1. CForte says:

    You haven’t tried brussels until you have Uncle Tony’s ….braised in chicken stock, garlic, vinegar and then they are left to reduce and caramalize…. kids can’t get enough! Ask him and he may give you the recipe!
    I have 22 more days to go. I am very sluggish today. Haven’t exercised so that in combo with changes may be having a reaction to no simple (bad) carbs. I just need more motivation to continue and not cave. I need to get myself to trader joes!
    Will try to respond tomorrow!

  2. Pingback: day 21, almost done and chicken soup | a spoonful of family….

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