Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A Christmas Mystery

In today's Guardian online is an article about Christmas Dinner: evidently an English Christmas dinner: "Top chefs' tips for Christmas -- How do you keep turkey moist? Can sprouts be interesting? We ask British chefs for their festive secrets."

The accompanying photo (shown as it appeared on the Guardian link to the article) includes a few of that most British of vegetables: the brussels sprout, as does the question about whether such a vegetable can be "interesting." I have had a few English Christmas dinners and have always been curious about what I saw as an obsession with Christmas brussels sprouts. They obviously MUST have them on the menu, but they also are very wary of them.

Some of the advice from the various chefs about making them "interesting":

  • "People usually hate brussel sprouts so we cut them into quarters and separate each leaf, which we then blanch. To finish we throw the leaves into a hot wok with a bit of bacon and you get this really green and vibrant dish."
  • "Frozen sprouts are the best."
  • "You can even plan what to do with leftovers to prevent wastage - ... why not make some bubble and squeak fritters? You can use pretty much any leftovers - leeks, onions, brussel sprouts, bacon, cabbage, a couple of chestnuts, anything really."
I'm lost in confusion. If they actually do hate brussels sprouts, think that frozen are better than fresh, and need to get rid of the leftovers, why are these vegetables a given on the Christmas menu?

As the New Yorker used to say: There will always be an England.

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