Try, try again

There’s an oft-repeated canard about feeding kids that says you may need to offer a child a new food five or ten or fifteen times before they like it. I’d dismissed this as untestable and, well, a canard, but maybe I was wrong.

As I’ve mentioned, Laurie and I love brussels sprouts, and we always keep a bag on hand in the freezer for a quick vegetable side. Last night I made carnitas (which I’ll write more about another day) and finished off a bag of sprouts–I just halved them, browned them in butter, added a little chicken broth, and braised until tender, about ten minutes.

Whenever I make sprouts, I put a few on Iris’s plate, but I don’t expect her to eat them. Iris likes broccoli, but she sides with most two-year-olds against the majority of other green vegetables, unless you consider Veggie Booty a green vegetable. Perhaps this is an evolutionary imperative, since green vegetables are bitter, and bitter is the flavor of poison. Or maybe Iris has just internalized a cultural bias against vegetables from watching too much Spongebob.

In any case, last night she threw off the shackles and went to town on the sprouts. She ate them with her hands. She speared them with her fork. *She ate more brussels sprouts than tortillas or pork.*

Oops, I’m inadvertently rapping again. But I think an occasion like this demands the dropping of a few rhymes, don’t you?

5 thoughts on “Try, try again

  1. Andrew Feldstein

    I cook them the way you do. I showed my wife the way, but since she’s a bit dyslexic, she braises them and then browns them (or tries to).

    I thought browning/braising was the very best way, until I used the method in *The New Best Recipe* from *Cook’s Illustrated*. They say put then in a sauce pan for a pure braise in water, no browning, no fat, no stock. It works wonderfully at bring out the sprouts’ wonderful nutty flavor.

    I haven’t tried combining a sauce pan braise with a browning phase yet, probably because that would mean an extra pot to clean.

    As an aside: I miss the fresh sprouts on the stem we’ve been getting the last few autumns. Except for the extra work, they cost the same or less per pound as the fresh, de-stemmed ones (I know, I weighed a few stems worth after the de-stemming). But they’re extra nutty, extra good!

  2. mamster Post author

    But Andrew, I checked _The New Best Recipe_ and they said braising them in cream was even better than water.

    Imagine that.

  3. Ryan Freebern

    How lovely is the lowly brussels sprout?
    Its tiny leaves so tender and so green!
    I love them browned in butter, braised in cream,
    Or simply steamed to bring their flavor out.

    Their luscious flavor is just like a dream.
    A tiny, crunchy bit of angels’ food,
    Which, whether baked or boiled, fried or stewed,
    Bring to my eye a bright, excited gleam.

    Though some may say they’re bitter, poor, or crude,
    I say they are a heavenly delight.
    I’ll eat them every morning, noon, or night,
    And still declare them delicious and good.

    Upon my plate they make a gorgeous sight,
    Their vivid colors making them stand out.
    How lovely is the lowly brussels sprout!
    To eat them is a heavenly delight.

  4. Andrew Feldstein

    >braising in cream

    They did, but, as I recall, they also said only do that at Thanksgiving, or something like that.

    But, now that you mention it, I’m going to look at that again. We can get some really excellent heavy cream around here from Guernsey Farms Dairy. And the Thomas’ whole organic milk we get for our little girl is cream line, probably well over 4% milkfat, and *fine*. I skimmed it once–what a pain–but I had the best skimmed milk *and* the best cream I’d ever had.

    Maybe I better look into finding a better way to skim milk at home….

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