OPINION: Time to give ‘yucky foods’ second chance

I was looking at some food stories from the Chicago Tribune earlier today and I smiled when I came across one called “Yucky Foods.”
The premise of the story was that as we age our tastes change, and what we might have considered “yucky” some 20 years ago might suddenly seem delicious to us now.
“Our taste sensations, interpretation and appreciation can change over time,” said Dr. Donald Hensrud, a Mayo Clinic weight management specialist. “There’s also some conditioning that goes on; we learn to like certain foods, and we get used to them over time.”
According to the article, some foods that people have deep-seated aversions to include sardines, cabbage, tomatoes, beets, broccoli, licorice and Brussels sprouts.
Personally, I can do all of those, except the sardines.
When I was a child, my list would have included turnip greens, squash, boiled okra and Gulf shrimp.
But my tastes have changed, and somewhere along the way I came to like – really love – turnip greens, squash and Gulf shrimp. I still can’t do the boiled okra, though. It’s a texture thing.
I’ll admit that cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprouts can have a rather sulfurous odor when cooked, depending on the way they’re prepared. However, when Brussels sprouts are roasted, that smell is greatly diminished.
My mother-in-law made this recipe for Thanksgiving and it was delicious. I had the leftovers the next day with lunch and they were still good. If you’ve never been a fan of Brussels sprouts, this recipe may be the recipe to make your tastebuds change.

Pan-Roasted Brussels Sprouts
2 pounds Brussels sprouts, halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons rice oil or olive oil
7 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons butter
12 bunch fresh thyme (about 10 sprigs)
1 large sprig fresh rosemary, halved
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1
14 teaspoons kosher salt or 1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sherry or white wine vinegar

In a large saucepan cook Brussels sprouts, uncovered, in enough lightly salted boiling water to cover for 3 minutes; drain well. Pat dry with paper towels.
Place a very large heavy skillet or sauté pan over high heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add oil and garlic; cook and stir 2 minutes. Add half the butter. Increase heat to medium-high; carefully arrange half the sprouts, cut-sides down, in the hot skillet. Top with half the thyme, rosemary, fennel seeds, and salt. Cook, uncovered, 3 to 4 minutes or until the sprouts are well-browned. Remove sprouts from pan. Repeat with remaining butter, sprouts, thyme, rosemary, fennel seeds, and salt.
Return all sprouts to skillet along with sherry. Quickly toss to distribute flavors.
Makes 8 servings.

Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.

Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal