Everyday Meals

‘I’m Britain’s biggest Brussels sprouts fan and I’ve written them a love poem’

Christmas is generally a time for giving, and a time for forgetting, but there is one contentious topic that divides households across the nation – Brussels sprouts.

Much like the Marmite of the festive season, you either love them or hate them – and new data from food delivery service Deliveroo, who recently launched their very own sprout-infused sandwich, suggests that 35% of Brits identify as ‘sprout haters.’

Some people’s hatred of the divisive vegetable goes as far as a genuine fear, with 1.5 million Brits claiming to have a phobia of Brussels sprouts.

However Zita Wells, a dog-care expert and business owner from East Sussex, is one of the 31% of Brits who loves the controversial Christmas staple – and claims to be Britain’s biggest sprout fan.

“Simply put, sprouts are incredibly delicious and versatile – there’s a mountain of ways you can cook them,” the 53-year-old sprout-lover told Express.co.uk.

READ MORE: Cook ‘crispy and deliciously golden’ Brussels sprouts in the air fryer – recipe

“My family knows I love them so much my husband even buys me a stalk of sprouts once the first frost has hit – marking the start of sprout season. It’s become our little tradition!”

But Zita’s relationship with sprouts hasn’t always been plain sailing, she explained: “Sprouts have an awful reputation, as people fall into the trap of overboiling them – which is a bad way to cook any vegetable in my opinion.

“I, too, was a sprout hater for this very reason – but thankfully, I’ve since learned a myriad of ways to prepare them.”

Zita’s favourite way to cook sprouts is to sautée them in butter with chestnuts, crushed garlic, and smoked streaky bacon, served in a bowl with black pepper.

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Although a massive fan of sprouts herself, Zita is diplomatic in her attitude towards sprout-haters: “I’ve never imposed sprouts on anyone. Yet, in our home, there’s a golden rule: if a guest isn’t a sprout enthusiast, I kindly ask them to taste one of our little greens before declining.

“Trying is the key, and if they still don’t fancy them, that’s perfectly fine. On a positive note, sprout lovers often rave about ours! It’s all about the cooking and a touch of creativity!

None of Zita’s immediate family share her passion and enthusiasm for sprouts, except for her husband who she lovingly calls ‘Big G’, as the pair revel in the mutual love for sprouts.

The couple like to make extra festive by engaging in the ‘Sprout Olympics’, involving sports such as:

  • Sprout Roll – which involves rolling sprouts across a flat surface and determining the winner by which sprout travels the farthest.
  • Sprout Toss – tossing Brussels sprouts into designated targets, with different points for various difficult levels.
  • Sprout and Spoon Race – navigating an obstacle course whilst balancing Brussels sprouts on a spoon, with the team or individual completing the course without dropping the sprout emerging as victorious.
  • Sprout Bowling – Involves creating a DIY bowling alley using plastic bottles as pins and a decent-sized sprout as the bowling ball.
  • Sprout Shot Put – Taking turns to see who can throw the sprout the farthest.

If Zita’s credentials as the UK’s top sprout fan are still in doubt, to prove her love for the controversial vegetable she has penned a poem in ode to sprouts titled ‘The Humble Sprout’.

It reads:

“Misunderstood, a garden’s unsung star,

Through recipes and taste, they’ve travelled far.

A burst of nutrients in every bite,

The humble sprout is a culinary delight.”

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