Monday, 21 November 2011

IMFW: Retrospective Justification

When I was a child, I hated sprouts.

No, wait - let me rephrase that:

I hate sprouts.

I have always hated them. I intend to continue hating them until I'm so old that my tastebuds have shrivelled up entirely beyond use - and after that I will still refuse to eat them, on principle. As a child, I was often served a Token Brussels Sprout at Sunday Dinner, which I had to eat if I wanted to get any pudding. And, as I always wanted pudding, I used to attempt to chop the sprout into as few pieces as possible and then swallow them whole, like a self-loathing vegan snake.

For years, I suffered this horror almost every week and was told off for my fussy eating habits. But now, it has been revealed that the hatred of brussels sprouts is, in fact, genetic. Or at least, probably genetic. Those people who have this gene can taste the bitter and hideous taste of a chemical called phenylthiocarbamide, which is extremely similar to a chemical found in brassicas, like brussels sprouts. And cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower... pretty much all the vegetables I and so many other sensible people hate.

Now, I've seen different theories suggested for why some people like sprouts and others can't stand them - but this is definitely my favourite. Because it means that all children everywhere, when faced with a plate of sprouts, can now scowl up at their parents and say: it's your fault I don't like them.

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