Monday, November 17, 2008

Late Night Brussel Sprouts

Even the dog got in on the brussel sprout action!

Have you ever grown brussel sprouts? No, I guess that's a silly question. No one, at least not city dwellers, grows brussel sprouts. Why? They're slow. They don't like the heat of midsummer days. They thrive in the cold. Lots of folks think they're gross.

Not us. We grew them this summer from little plants. Little plants that we probably put into the ground a little too late--because these guys were slow. I'm talkin' slow. We watched them all summer long, wondering, waiting, wishing, hoping... for something to happen. They grew beautiful cabbage-like leaves. "Where are the sprouts?" we'd say every day when we checked them. I remembered seeing how they grew when we received a stalk of them many years back in a CSA. Our brussel sprouts weren't resembling that one, at all.

Then one day, something happened. Something grew in the "armpit" of the leaves. It looked like a pea. What was it? Our first SPROUT! Carl and Gus ran over and told the neighbor, "Megan... our brussel is sprouting!" You would have thought they won the lottery. Such are the joys of gardening with children. Every little growth is a miracle for them and a way to keep us all a little closer to the earth.

The garden has been put to bed for weeks. Well, everything except for the slow growing brussel sprouts. Finally last week, after it had already snowed a few times and the garden had been heaped with raked leaves for winter warmth, we chopped 'em down. It was dark, of course, as it always is in areas so far from the equator this time of the year, but we did it anyway. The boys felt like they had brought home something great from the hunt. The kill. "Let's get it!" They poked and prodded on each stalk, carefully popping each pea-sized sprout off the thick trunk. Oh the excitement! After four giant stalks, we had the bottom of a large bowl filled. Yeah, the bottom. Had those little rascals been full-sized, we could have filled two bowls. But no, they were our pea-sized brussel sprouts and I've never seen the boys so excited to get dinner on the table.

I'm proud to say, my kids eat brussel sprouts. And I thought I was the only freak.

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