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eat your brussels sprouts 
how to cook Brussels sprouts (and like them too!)

by Yee-Fan Sun
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Despite the fact that I'm often whining about the things I miss from back home in the States, there are many things I genuinely love about life in Scotland. I love the big foreboding castles and the narrow cobblestone streets; I love the oldness of the cities, the sense of history. I love the hills and the lochs and the closeness of the sea. And I'm gaining a definite appreciation for this country's smoky single-malt whiskies (though fortunately for my liver, I suppose, I'm still too cheap to get too into the stuff). But while there are many good things about Scotland, there's one thing I don't think I'll be missing much when it comes to head back to our usual side of the pond next year. Namely, the food. As someone teased my husband shortly before we made the move out here, "Ah, Scotland: go for the weather; stay for the food!"

This is, after all, a country where the most beloved national dish is haggis, an oh-so-delightful mixture of sheep heart, lungs, and liver minced up with oatmeal and boiled up in a sheep's stomach. Truth be told, it's not as vile-tasting as it sounds; the end product is just a peppery mash that's more meh than outright ew. Still, like I said: when years from now, I inevitably find myself nostalgic for the two years when the boy and I were lucky enough to get to live in Scotland, I'm highly doubtful that it'll be the food I'm hankering for. 

Nevertheless, my time here hasn't been completely without its happy culinary discoveries. Chief among them: Brussels sprouts.

Brussels sprouts were one of those foods I grew up hearing about as a kid, but never experienced firsthand. In the stories I heard, Brussels sprouts were inevitably presented as a food that parents forced their kids to eat because it was good for them, not because they actually tasted good. Until I moved to the UK, I wasn't even exactly sure what Brussels sprouts were. Given their reputation, however, I was pretty sure I wasn't missing much. While browsing through the limited winter produce options here in Edinburgh last November, however, I happened to stumble across a bin of what looked like perfect miniature cabbage heads. They were tiny and round and a very pretty bright green; they were absolutely adorable, and I knew I had to buy them. So imagine my surprise when I glanced at the sign next to the bin and saw that these cutie-pie vegetables were the loathsome Brussels sprouts I'd long heard about. Despite their bad rep as one of the most detested of veggies, I bought a small bag and brought my pretty green sprouts home. After a little bit of research on what to actually do with them, I cooked up my first batch, tossed them with a little butter, took my first bite -- and fell in love.

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