Monday, October 15, 2012

Brussels Sprouts on the Stalk

Brussels Sprouts on the Stalk

Years ago, when my children were in elementary school, I used to bring in raw foods to show them how our food grows. Peas in the pod, corn in the husk, strawberries on the vine, peanuts in the shell, you get the idea. Can’t do that today, of course, but it was interesting to see their surprise at the natural state of things.

My local Trader Joe’s, in the past couple of years, has been bringing in Brussels sprouts on the stalk. I find I am just as excited to see how they grow as the kids were back then. There is something satisfying in connecting with the emerging process. Seeing the tomatoes grow in my garden is extremely pleasing.  To watch each stage of a tomato as it develops, to hold it in my hand while it is still warm from the afternoon sun, is a treat. 

Origins are intriguing. They hint at possibilities. They are Act One in an ever-changing play. Each beginning brings with it unknown potential that responds to nurturing or its lack. It expresses its uniqueness even within its group identity. Every grape in a bunch is different even if they all taste sweet.

Brussels sprouts are a good example of hidden promise. They are rather strange looking and not always the favorite choice of diners but they pack a nutritional wallop that should have us clamoring for them. Here is a profile that should have you looking at Brussels sprouts with respect:

I think that seeing how our food grows is important. It helps to keep us interrelated within the chain of life. Our supermarkets are filled with artificial products that contain non-food additives, which we are learning are not in our best interest to ingest. The fewer the ingredients, the better. We should be able to pronounce the ingredients. And do we really want food that has an extended shelf life? Fruits and vegetables in the produce aisles are identifiable, fresh, and, if organic, pesticide free. I would love to see everyone have access to real food and to make choices that support healthy eating.

The US Department of Agriculture has some simple tips to help you eat well:


  1. We often laugh at kids who think orange juice grows in containers and blanche when they see a cow, chicken or fish and realize that that is where our meat comes from. But so often, adults are just as surprised when they see the origins of some of our food. Your message about brussel sprouts is a perfect example!! As always, thank you for enlightening us.

  2. I grew up thinking vegetables come in cans. Once I starting eating fresh foods I couldn't look at the overcooked, over-salted canned ingredients any more. Now manufacturers are taking steps back to more natural ways of processing but still, fresh is best.