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Expert Guide

A Short History of Brussels Sprouts

Over the last 50 years, brussels sprouts have gone from reviled to revered. Here, 6 milestones in their history.

1960sOvercooked and Stinky
Home cooks bring out brussels sprouts' worst side by subjecting them to endless boiling. Says New York Times' Frank Bruni, "When I was growing up… I would watch my mother eat these mushy, smelly things, and I would ponder the extent to which adults really did represent alien life forms."

1961—The French Way
Julia Child's brussels sprout recipes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking call for smothering the brassicas in cream, butter or both.

1999—Just Add Bacon
A turning point in the vegetable's rehabilitation: Mario Batali serves them sautéed with pancetta, parsley and thyme at NYC's Babbo.

2004—Spiced and Fried
NYC chef David Chang introduces sprouts with Asian flavors: Momofuku Noodle Bar's pan-roasted sprouts are tossed with bacon and pureed kimchi. The dish becomes so popular that he temporarily takes it off the menu. "Every single table ordered them," he said. "I would've had to dedicate one of my cooks to doing nothing but cooking sprouts all night."

2010—Stalk to Table
At Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, NY, chef Dan Barber playfully serves roasted brussels sprouts on the stalk; diners use gardening shears to serve themselves.

2013—Pizza Topper
The ultimate sign of mass acceptance: Megachain California Pizza Kitchen introduces a seasonal Brussels + Bacon Pizza.

Related: Delicious Brussels Sprouts
10 Ways to Get Inspired by Vegetables
Best Recipes for Winter Produce

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