A Savory Vegetable By Any Other Name

July 14, 2014
Stalk of brussels sprouts

Like the avocado and the beet before it, the Brussels sprout is experiencing quite a renaissance. That’s really saying something considering its unfortunate name, alien-like appearance and history of being demonized in public school cafeterias since the beginning of time.

I knew Brussels sprouts were on the comeback trail, but I never really gave them a chance until my wife and I recently joined another couple on a double date at Rabbit Hole, the Korean barbecue joint in the Midtown Global Market. Rather than order entrees and peace-out in 45 minutes flat, we shared about a dozen items off the menu. The winner was unanimous: Van Damme Good Sprouts, or Brussels sprouts fried to a crispy brown finish with bacon, onion, Mandarin oranges, mint and parmesan. In one meal, I was made a believer of Brussels sprouts.

(Side note: If Belgium has other varieties of vegetable, I would like to know them, too.)

I contest that Brussels sprouts could supplant the tomato and potato as America’s most beloved vegetable if given the chance. Or a re-brand. Start with the name, patriotic as it may be. Brussels sprouts deserves a name that’s fun to say (like “mango” or “shallot”), yet descriptive (like “ghost pepper” or “Romaine lettuce.”) I’m not trying to give away the goods to Big Brussels Sprout, but here are a few name suggestions for the meaty little flavor bombs:

  • Vege-a-nuts — Claims to be a vegetable, but tastes like a nut.
  • Bro Spros — Should play well with 16-to-24-year-old males.
  • Green Dreams — Because once you taste it, you will have them.
  • Hip-Hops — OK, in no way are Brussels sprouts hops, but they kind of look like hops, and they are indeed hip.
  • Tiny-ass Cabbage or Micro Cabbage or Iceberg Slims — Salute Tom Haverford.
  • Veggie Jackson — An homage to Reggie “Mr. October” Jackson, who was known for being clutch (much like Brussels sprouts) and a hit with the ladies (exactly like Brussels sprouts).
  • Gummy Greens — Bears, worms, Coke bottles — Americans will eat anything that describes itself as “gummy.”
  • Brussel & Spro — You laugh, but it’s hard out here for a vegetable.

Have any name suggestions of your own? Take them to the comments section below, then take a look at this recipe I actually tried out last night, much to my wife’s delight. It even calls for Sriracha!