Brussels sprouts

I disliked Brussels sprouts intensely as a child, and still do. They were produced every Christmas as if they were some kind of delicacy, a treat to be enjoyed only rarely. I was never fooled. I thought them nasty, bitter little things with no merit. They went with the Christmas bird, usually a goose, the roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, and sometimes carrots or peas, and the gravy that made up the Christmas dinner. All of these were delicious, but not the Brussels sprouts. I remember reading somewhere that selective breeding from the mediaeval cabbage had given us modern cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts, and thinking that sprouts were the only failure on that list.

Years later I concocted a dish I called "Madsen's revenge." To make it, the sprouts are par-boiled, drained and halved, and the halves are gently fried, first in butter, then with a little maple syrup added, and turned occasionally. As they are put onto the plate, they are sprinkled with finely chopped walnuts. The point is that the sprouts have been denatured by this process, and no longer have the characteristic bitter taste. My friends who have made this dish out of curiosity say they find it pleasant. Mind you, they never liked Brussels sprouts either.