Friday, January 4, 2013
Little Cabbages, Giant Taste
When I wrote this piece (Meatless in Cleveland) about how Lyn and I were eating more healthy foods, it foretold my response to something simple – and profound: a big ol' bunch of . . . Brussels sprouts. Once upon a time, I would have shrugged. Now, motivated to eat more vegetables, I couldn't take my eyes off this prize Lyn brought home from the grocery store: the biggest bunch of sprouts I'd ever seen. It fit right into our continuing move toward healthier eating; it was cause for celebration, one worthy of photographs and immediate firing of the oven.
I've eaten Brussels sprouts for as long as I can remember, told that they're loaded with what's good for you. "I eat them anyway," I used to joke.
I began treating them with a little more respect back in the 1970s after my Barbadian friend and Columbia University Journalism School classmate Richard Harewood invited me to Brooklyn for a family dinner featuring "little cabbages," as the Harewoods called them. The term is apt, as the sprouts are in the same family that includes cabbage, kale, broccoli and collards. These are all fine greens, chock full of vitamins and fiber.
The Brooklyn meal showed me that, in addition to their being good for us, they're also good to us, especially the way Richard's mother prepared them, using a recipe that I told Lyn about years later, a recipe we have now made our own: Unwashed, the little cabbages are halved, coated with olive oil and roasted in the oven at 450 degrees for 25-30 minutes. When they're done we toss them with a dressing of olive oil, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and lemon juice.
Served hot, they make you oink with pleasure.
After we devoured the first batch off the big stalk, Lyn said: "With this amount, we're going to be eating a whole lot of Brussels sprouts."
"What a shame," I said with a wink in my voice.