People try to convert me a lot at this time of year. Operative word: try. They give me their best pitch, offer to do whatever it takes to get me to change my views, but I hold firm.
I’ve tried a lot of what they’re peddling. There are some people in this world that I can’t say “no” to, but none have succeeded in breaking through my resolve.
I’m stubborn and hold firm in the knowledge that there is no recipe that will get me to like brussels sprouts.
You can candy them, glaze them, roast, shave, sauté, butter, or gratin them; you can bacon, maple, prosciutto, or nut them up until the cows come home, but I’m not going to like them.
This isn’t going to be one of those stories where the protagonist (that’s me) finally discovers the error of her ways and goes over to the little cabbage side.
I’ve lived ... a few years. I know that tastes come and go. When I was a kid scrambled eggs would make me gag. Every parent says it, right? “How will you know you don’t like it if you don’t try it?”
So, I did. Over and over again until — lo! — as a teen I realized that I liked scrambled eggs, Sam I Am.
One thing that I’ve learned with all this trial and taste-bud error is that a lot of people have a People Who Don’t Like Brussels Sprouts Like These recipe. Nope. Not that way. Or that. I also learned to say, “They aren’t my favorite” instead of making a gagging noise.
They consistently disappoint me. I want to like them; I really do. They tempt me with their cute size and color — they look like a cabbage puppy. But looking and eating are two very different senses.
My friend J.D. and I usually have a very similar palate, but we differ on two items: brussels sprouts and cilantro. J.D. adores the former (I think I’ve made my own opinion abundantly clear). And the latter? I’m of the more-the-merrier school when it comes to cilantro; he thinks it tastes like soap.
But J.D. and I have a lot in common, so we can tease each other about disgusting foods with no hard feelings. What about the other stuff that’s floating around our social circles? The other things that we don’t believe but our friends do? The other conversations that we can’t joke about and do divide us?
J.D. had a solution for that. Back in 2012, he formed a Facebook recipe exchange group and filled it with his friends. The purpose: It was a presidential election year and he was getting annoyed at people he generally liked because of differing views. He wanted a place where they all could interact without clashing.
It worked. With food as common denominator we had a place to escape, get a tried-and-true recipe or show off one that we had made. The group grew to include friends of his friends and now we’ve all happily made it through two divisive presidential elections.
I think some group members would be surprised at the creation story. For five years now, the conversation has been limited to our shared interest.
When there is an opposing view (not liking a certain food, for instance) we offer solutions (“I would leave out the cilantro and use parsley”) or, imagine this, we skip making any commentary at all.
I don’t know if there will be any brussels sprouts on the buffets of my upcoming holidays, but there will be people that I love whose opinions I don’t always agree with around the table.
I can skip or try the sprouts ... again, while I happily focus on our common denominator: the love.