I swear I laughed out loud, because seriously!? When was the last time you saw a Brussel Sprout tree?!? Me? Never. I've never seen a little tree full of brussel sprouts. Okay, technically it's not a tree. The correct verbiage would be a brussel sprout stalk. Whatever you call it, I think it rocks. The lady next to me thought it was hilarious that I was so infatuated by a vegetable. I was trying to explain that it wasn't the vegetable per se, but the packaging that was so intriguing. She just shook her head and walked away. Whatever. I know she was secretly just as amazed as I was by the funky sprout tree, she just didn't want to walk through the store with the thing sticking out of her cart.
There were stacks of these stalks piled on top of each other and being the fun mom that I can sometimes be, I thought I had to buy one of the Brussel Sprout Trees for my kids. It did stick out of the cart. But I think it made me the most interesting person in the store that day. I definitely got lots of looks and the cashier was at a loss for how to bag it. Apparently I was the only person at that point of the midmorning to purchase the item ( Really? Am I really the only person in Boise who found these things cool enough to purchase?) and no one had discussed the bagging options with the cashiers prior to placing the stalk out for sale. I opted to skip the bag and carry it out in my hand, kind of like a marching band majorette. It was a great day at the grocery store.
I know...I totally geeked out over brussel sprouts. Obviously I need a more exciting life. But back to the story.
I've eaten brussel sprouts before. I like them. But I've always purchased them already cut off the stalk, so I never once wondered, as I was picking out my "baby cabbages", how the things grew. How old am I now? 47? And I just now found out how brussel sprouts grow. It also never occurred to me that someone had to do the work to get them to the little basket in the produce section as individual brussel sprouts for people like me to buy and enjoy.
After the hubby and kids also geeked out over the small tree, we decided to have them for dinner. Which brings me to my next discovery about Brussel Sprout Trees. They are damn hard to cut through!! Now I know why the produce clerk decided to just throw the whole stalks out onto the display instead of cutting off the brussel sprouts. I swear I was ready to have Big Man whip out the circular saw or his camping machete! Cutting through the stalk with my knife was seriouly, ridiculously labor intensive! Yeah...don't let the cuteness of the baby cabbages attached to the tree thing suck you in. Because it becomes way less cute after twenty minutes of cutting, sawing and pounding on the knife handle to remove the little buggers. Of course, it didn't help that my knife hasn't been sharpened since my grandma gave it to me in 1996. I never remember to get it sharpened until after I have to struggle through something like this.
ANYWAY...I was almost finished cutting when my very smart 10 year old suggested that I just hit them at a downward angle ("just karate chop them, Mom!") to knock them loose from the stalk. I tried that. It worked really well. On the last eight brussel sprouts. Who knew? And where was he 18 minutes ago?
Whe I was done, I was left with an almost naked brussel sprout stalk. That looked like this:
Am I weird or does this look like a beautiful piece of greenery that could somehow be incorporated into a floral arrangement? Don't ask me how to do it, I'm not good at flower arrangements. I'm just the idea person here. I was just really struck by the lovely patterns that the left behind leaves made on the stalk. It seems like one could throw some flowers and ribbon and other cool florist type stuff in there and make something really unique and beautiful to gaze upon. Just sayin'. You know how people put out pine bough wreaths and centerpeices for Christmas? Maybe a shucked brussel sprout stalk could be the centerpiece for Festivus. It's the centerpiece for the rest of us.
I can't believe I just wrote a whole post about brussel sprout stalks.