BRUSSELS SPROUTS ARE finally at the farmers market! I know what you’re thinking: “My kid would never eat that.” Or, maybe even: “I would never eat that.” Well, I admit, I never tried a Brussels sprout that I liked until fairly recently. I had always had them boiled too much and overcooked so they were mushy and gross. I’m always determined to try new things, and I’m on a mission to get my kids to try new things, as well.
We have a rule at our house: You must try everything on your plate. You don’t have to like it. You don’t even have to eat it all. But you must TRY it. We call it a “no thank you portion”. Some experts tell you that you should serve new foods and not necessarily make your kids eat it. Just keep serving it and they will eat it eventually. I disagree. I’m mean, though - if my kids don’t try something, they don’t get dessert. I’m not asking much, just stick some in your mouth and chew.
Here’s where I do agree with the experts. Children (as well as some adults), prefer foods that are familiar, and tend to reject new foods. We as parents have control over what’s served, and children have control over how much they eat (even if bribed with dessert). Parents tend to give up serving a food after it’s rejected, but studies have shown that it can take as many as ten exposures to a food before a child starts accepting it. Therefore, it may take some time (even years), but eventually, they may learn to appreciate foods they used to reject.
Don’t believe me? I have been serving Brussels sprouts to my kids for years. I have one child, Joshua, that turns up his nose every time. He takes his “no thank you portion”, and nothing more. The last time I served it, he said to me “Mom, I think I’m starting to like Brussels sprouts, but only how you make them. When they’re almost black and crunchy.” This is what makes a food-geek mom like me beam with pride. That gave me as much joy as when my oldest boy, Jimmy, asked for beets with his birthday dinner. Josh, unfortunately, still hates beets. I’m still working with him on that one.
If you can, I encourage you to buy Brussels sprouts right on the stalk, the way you see them at the farmers market. Let your kids see how it’s grown. They can even help pull or cut the buds off the stalk. This recipe also calls for bacon. Yes, I’m a firm believer that everything tastes better with bacon. Especially vegetables. Leave it out if you wish. The Brussels sprouts will still taste great.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Prepare sprouts by removing outer discolored leaves and cutting large sprouts in half.
In a large bowl, toss sprouts with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Dice bacon with kitchen shears and add to sprouts. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, spreading them into one layer, making sure bacon is evenly distributed.
Roast in the oven for 35-45 minutes, or until dark brown (almost blackened), shaking baking sheet once or twice during cooking. Let them cool slightly before placing them in a serving dish. Sprinkle with salt and serve to your picky eaters.