If you’re a Brussels sprouts lover, then this recipe is a must-try. A simple, elegant, delicious side dish.
If you’re a Brussels sprouts hater…sorry, it’s a hopeless cause and there’s no converting you. Why? It’s genetic. Yes, there’s actually a gene that explains your repulsion to all things cabbage. Read on.
In 2003 scientists located the exact gene responsible for this hatred toward Brussels sprouts. They decided to name it the “TAS2R38 gene” (they could have done better than that, surely.) It’s located on the 7th chromosome, has 1,143 bases, and it performs the role of coding for the PTC taste receptor. (All of this just further reinforces why I pursued an education as far away from math and chemistry as possible – although I did have to take some nasty statistics in grad school. Awful, awful stuff. Awful. But I’ve since recovered). So what on earth does all of that mean for non-geeks? It means this: There is a chemical called PTC (phenylthiocarbamide) that isn’t common in the human diet but is similar to chemicals found in the brassica family (cabbages and Brussels sprouts). If you happen to be the lucky/unlucky (I’ll let you determine which) possessor of the TAS2R38 gene, this gene produces a protein that interlocks with PTC and creates a strong, unpleasant taste sensation of bitterness.
Nope, there’s nothing you can do about it. You will forever hate Brussels sprouts unless you pay a ton of money to undergo hypnosis, which may not work anyway.
And if there are any kids or teenagers reading this (kudos for following a cook-from-scratch food blog!), you now have a slam-dunk excuse to give your mom or dad for not eating your sprouts. You’re welcome.
And now, for those of you who weren’t born with the TAS2R38 gene (my hand’s up), let’s get started!