How I made my mom mad over Brussels sprouts

“Wait,” my mom said on the phone. “Hold on…”

“You made WHAT?!”

And that was how I made my mom mad over Brussels sprouts. 

A lot changes as you get older. Hopefully you get a little smarter as your hair gets a little grayer. 

And unfortunately, some things don’t work as well as they used to. 

But in this case, I might be using that to my advantage (even though it made my mom a little hot under the collar). 

You see, when I was a boy, one traditional family recipe my mom proudly served every year was a Brussels sprouts dish.

Crispy, with a little kick of cayenne.

She even had a special bowl for them that rarely made it to the table for anything else.

The “Brussels Sprouts Bowl.” Just seeing it come out of the cupboard made me want to run and hide.

Because I found them to be DISGUSTING.

I mean truthfully, my mom was a pretty ok cook. But these things were just gross.

At least, they were to me and my 8 year old taste buds. 

Now, there was no protesting at the table in my house. It was grin and bear it time.

But I did my best to hide those terribly bitter and funky little orbs. And maybe slip one to the dog under the table.

So, the fact that I’ve started serving Brussels sprouts regularly – and enjoying them – it shows I’m evolving, right?

Well, not exactly.

The truth is I’m not necessarily developing a refined palate.

My taste buds are dulling with age. And so are yours.

Aging profoundly delays your taste buds’ ability to regenerate. Studies show some never come back after you hit 40.

If you smoke or drink, the impact is greater.

When you’re a kid, your body is craving energy. Your palate fixates on the most energy efficient foods – and the sweetest.

You may even be programmed to be sensitive to bitterness when you’re young, to protect you against poisons.

It’s likely instinctual. Foraging around grabbing whatever you can find, a heightened sense of taste as a kid would keep you from taking in something your young body couldn’t handle.

Look at it this way.

Getting older can be a downer sometimes. But you might as well take advantage of this duller palate as a perk.

After all, now you can enjoy very dark chocolate, black coffee, asparagus, grapefruit and even Brussels sprouts.

The veggies you used to protest over might actually taste pretty good to you now. And while you’re old enough at this point to know they’re good for you, it may serve you to give even the things you used to HATE another try. 

You may find you actually like them. 

Look, we don’t get nearly as many vegetables in our diets as we should. For some of us, the whole idea of “eat your greens” is enough to scrunch up your face. 

But take my advice. Open your mind, and your plate, to try these things again. You may find you actually like the taste.

Your body will surely like them. 

And it’s also something to keep in mind when you like something and the kids at the table don’t. 

Maybe they’re not just being difficult. They could be tasting things you aren’t. 

Or, you might find you taste them in a whole new way today than you did as a kid. 

Especially when YOUR recipe for Brussels sprouts is definitely the best (sorry Mom.)

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Clifford Johnson - July 27, 2021

I have always liked Brussel Sprouts but since the steakhouses have started serving them as a side they are GREAT because of the way they are prepared. My son, who said he hated them, tried a couple of bites of mine and now he loves them—-as long as they are prepared properly.

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