When I was eight or nine years old, I read a series of books about children in other countries. The books were hardbound with a dark blue spine and a drawing of a child on the lighter blue background of the cover. Each one was an overview of a particular country told from a child’s viewpoint.
I think it must have been in 1939 or ‘40 when I first started reading the books. That would have been after Hitler’s armies had invaded Belgium. Nothing about the war was mentioned in the book — it was just a pleasant story about a little boy who lived there — how he dressed, games he played, the foods he ate.
Today, here at Rosewood (Bakersfield, Calif.) we had brussels sprouts for lunch and that reminded me of the first time I heard the vegetable’s name. It was in one of the books about Belgium and of course, Brussels, its capital city.
I liked the pictures of the sprouts — I thought they looked like miniature cabbages. I was disappointed that there were no brussels sprouts in the produce section when I accompanied my mother on a shopping trip to Green Frog Market. It wasn’t until at least five years after the war was over that I finally got hold of some brussels sprouts. And when I did, they were frozen and wrapped in a package. It wasn't until fresh ones started to become available that I truly appreciated this vegetable. I also learned that steaming is the best way to cook them. Boiling them in a pot makes them tough.
Before I started to write this piece, I did a little research on brussels sprouts and I was delighted to learn that they are an excellent way to reduce cholesterol. So I say to Sheri and the kitchen staff, bring ‘em on! Especially if they’re steamed.