Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Bird Food Improved Upon

I am inspired by a blog on Brussels sprouts and peanuts here to prepare the recipe posted. Also to tell you my own story of birds and sprouts. Missing from my story are the peanuts.

This is what the vegetable should look like before it is harvested, but my own try at growing these impressive stalks didn't work out as planned. At the time when little buds should be growing into big sprouts, there was nothing but  big, bare stems. Could the flocks of quail who frequented our back yard have anything to do with this? I knew they ate the leaves on top....

Eventually I took the time to examine those stems up close, and there were indeed little sprouts on them, the size of pinheads, and never able to grow larger. My plants had been so starved by the constant bird pruning that they had nothing to put toward production of fruit.

I love to cook Brussels sprouts, and even B. has overcome his off-putting childhood initiation so that now he happily eats them. Cooked, mind you. Once as a little boy he was accompanying a farmer friend of the family on a walk through the vegetable garden when the man plucked a sprout off the stalk and handed it to young B. saying, "Here, try it, it's a Brussels sprout." B. obediently chewed the raw sprout and found it the most horrible thing he'd eaten in his short life.

It took many years for him to get over that first taste. Sprouts are so darling and yummy, though, that simple steaming has been enough preparation to suit us most of the time. After I got married I learned to cut a deep X into the base of each sprout before dropping it into the steamer basket. That lets the inside leaves cook along with the outside, so you aren't left with a choice between mushy outsides or crunchy centers.

Now I'm off to the market and will certainly bring home some Brussels sprouts. I'll let the birds eat the raw, and will serve mine cooked.

6 comments:

thegeekywife said...

Interesting. Will keep this in mind if I ever get the nerve to try them! ;)

Pom Pom said...

HI GJ
I have NEVER tried them! I think it's because Beaver Cleaver didn't like them! Aren't they members of the cabbage family? I like all that stuff!
Yes, we have a new grandbaby! This is number five for us and by July of next year, we shall have SEVEN, all three years old and under! I am one happy granny!

Emily J. said...

Once at the grocery store I told my older boys (at the time all under 5) that they could each pick out their favorite fruit or vegetable to bag and add to the cart. My second son, seeing fresh brussel spouts, asked for them, saying "my favorite!" The lady next to me turned, amazed, and asked, "What have you done to that child?" (added plenty of butter and salt)

Great photo!

margaret said...

I like brussels. I like them with butter and salt and in curries and Thai food.

Marfa said...

We tried to grow them this year too...first time. We got huge cabbage like leaves and underneath eventually they came, but looked a bit eaten, maybe a bug, so I fed them to our bunny, she loves them! I'll try again next year!!!

Matt said...

Braised quail with brussels sprouts. YUM!