My daughter and her friends Opal and Naomi went through some picky eating stages when they were growing up. One memorable Thanksgiving, every single one of them turned their cute little noses up at my Brussels sprouts.What was wrong with them? It wasn't like I was offering them rutabagas or parsnips, which I cannot and never could and never will stand!
Finally, I managed to cajole one of them, little Naomi, to try the sprouts. Unlike my own daughter, Naomi was polite. Well brought up, I might say, but then, so was my daughter, if you ask me, but she tends to have a problem with polite. She must have gotten that from father, not that she ever met him, wherever he is..
Naomi barely nibbled at one tiny leaf that had fallen off a Brussels sprout. Her eyes opened. "This is good, Mrs. Battersby!"
I scolded, "You don't have to sound so shocked."
She apologized and helped herself to more. Edna and Opal watched her carefully. Naomi ate every bit of my sprouts concoction on her plate and went back for seconds.
That was enough for Edna and Opal. They were always competitive, and they had to taste the Brussels sprouts, too. I thought that Edna, especially, would be stubborn about it (she must have gotten that stubborn streak from her father) but even she admitted that the Brussels sprouts were good. All three girls went back for seconds.
I don't exactly have a recipe. I just cook enough Brussels sprouts for everyone to have seconds, if they want, and they always do. Here's how I prepare them. Measurements don't have to be exact. And leave out the bacon if you or anyone else in the group doesn't eat pork.
Dora Battersby's Brussels Sprouts
Wash, trim, and quarter (unless they're already very small) the Brussels sprouts.
Lightly brown pecan pieces (about a tablespoon for every cup of Brussels sprouts) in olive oil. Set aside.
In a different skillet, fry bacon (about a slice for every cup of Brussels sprouts) until crisp. Drain the bacon on paper towels. Crumble the bacon into bits.
Place the Brussels sprouts in a microwaveable casserole dish. Scrape the pecan and olive oil mixture into the casserole. Salt and pepper to taste. Stir.
Sprinkle the crumbled bacon on top. Put the lid on the casserole and microwave it until the sprouts are tender-crisp.
Last but not least, tell the kids to eat their veggies.
I'm thankful that Halloween and all those problems we had in Threadville with Edna's wedding dress and our craft fair guests and the people wandering around Threadville pretending to be zombies (really, and they seemed to think they were adults, besides...) are over.
I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving again with Edna and her two girlhood friends. And we're adding more folks, too--my new son-in-law, Opal's daughter Haylee and Haylee's best friend Willow. Haylee's hosting us, and doing most of the cooking. She's threatening to feed us rutabegas and parsnips. Not me. No matter how she might gussy them up, I'll refuse to taste them.
Read about Dora Battersby and how she and the others helped Willow solve a murder in NIGHT OF THE LIVING THREAD, available at these booksellers.
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