The scientific reason why everyone suddenly started eating Brussels sprouts: ‘This blew my mind’
Ever wonder why Brussels sprouts went from being a vegetable non grata to a delectable side dish found on appetizer menus across the land? Turns out, there’s a science-based reason why — and the answer is going viral on TikTok.
It all began when flood vlogger @radicchiosalad mused in his video “Top 5 Vegetables of the 2010s: “I don’t know if my memory is completely shot or what, but I simply don’t remember people eating Brussels sprouts before the 2010s.”
The answer to his query was stitched by user @rantsandrocks, whose video quickly gained over 4.5 million views, 490,000 likes and 5,700 comments.
Now, much like the restaurant worker who revealed the heartbreaking truth behind those sizzling fajita dishes, @rantsandrocks‘ video is going viral — and shining a whole new light on this veggie dish.
“So any kid who grew up in the ’80s and ’90s can tell you that Brussels sprouts were incredibly bitter. … I couldn’t eat them, they were so bad,” @rantsandrocks‘ video begins.
“But in the 1990s, a Dutch scientist — his name was Hans van Doorn — he identified the chemical in Brussels sprouts that made them bitter.”
According to findings published in van Doorn’s 1998 study, those chemicals were sinigrin and progoitrin, and once they were identified, Dutch seed companies were able to breed them out.
“They were crossbred with higher-producing varieties, meaning we got more Brussels sprouts that weren’t bitter,” @rantsandrocks continues. “So by the time the 2010s rolled around, there were lots of Brussels sprouts, and they didn’t taste bitter anymore, and suddenly they’re incredibly palatable — and thus, really good on restaurant menus.”
Combine this scientific breakthrough with the advent of culinary celebrities and the rise of the Food Network, and Brussels sprouts were suddenly more than just boiled little balls of bitterness. They could be roasted, glazed, cooked with bacon — and made delicious.
“Genetic modification isn’t a dirty word,” @rantsandrocks concludes. “It’s how we make tasty vegetables today.”
‘I thought my taste buds just matured’
TikTokers were shocked by this revelation.
“Noooo! This blew my mind,” commented @lorenzosfnyc.
“Not me with my jaw hitting the floor. I thought my taste buds just matured 😂,” wrote @mynovalunosis.
“I just assumed everyone was making really bad brussel sprouts recipes before 2010,” commented @ferrytalecrafter.
“It’s because my mom boiled them and thought salt and butter were the devil’s tools,” joked @lauramickley0.
“I just thought I developed a palate for them 😂 – they were revolting when I was a kid in the 80s!” commented @jezzypc.
“Thank you for explaining! I never knew! Also hated them but ready to retry!” wrote @mamatr33.
“GMO, FTW! Now we need to make non-soap cilantro,” posited @donniehe.
Thanks to @rantsandrocks‘ appetizer exposé, Brussels sprout haters around the world might just be giving these veggies a second chance.
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