Christmas in Britain

brussels sprout-flavored crisps

Relevant photo: These are brussels sprouts flavored crisps. Or potato chips, if you’re American, which I mostly am. Notice that lovely seasonal package they come in?

Brussels sprouts are part of the traditional British Christmas dinner, but they’re not usually eaten in the form of potato chips–or crisps, as they’re called in Britain to distinguish them from what Americans call french fries, which are called chips.

Have I lost you yet? Oh, good.

This is the first year I’ve seen brussels sprout-flavored potato chips, and I don’t predict a great future for them, even as a seasonal oddity. I ate three out of I didn’t count how many in the package I bought: one to see what they tasted like, a second to make sure I hadn’t hallucinated the first, and the third to see if they might just possibly grow on me.

Boy, did they ever not.

I threw the rest away.

By way of background: I do like brussels sprouts, but only in their natural, vegetabilian form. And I don’t, as a habit, waste food, but for some things you have to make exceptions.

If you celebrate Christmas, I wish you a merry one. Please be careful what you buy if you’re tempted to grab something in nice-looking seasonal packaging.

And if you don’t celebrate Christmas, I wish you a happy whatever you may or may not celebrate at this time of year. It should make you very happy that your tradition isn’t responsible for inventing brussels sprout-flavored crisps.

Only in Britain: What did I get for Christmas this year? Why, a lovely, hand-crocheted brussels sprout. With eyes. In real life (if that’s what I lead, given that I’m taking pictures of a crocheted brussels sprout with eyes), it’s green, not blue.

124 thoughts on “Christmas in Britain

  1. 1. Um, vegetabilian?…
    2. From the look of them, it’s a good thing crochet Brussels sprouts don’t grow on you either
    3. A RELEVENT photo? Are you feeling worse than usual?
    4. Merry whatever to you too, bah, humbug.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1. Yes, vegetabilian. Absolutely.
      2. I’m very fond of my crocheted brussels sprout. But if they grew on me I’d spend a lot of time explaining my looks to people. So yeah, good thing.
      3. I know, I know. I have some explaining to do about that.
      4. And to you.

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      • 1. Well, okay, then — jus’ checkin’
        2. From the expression in its warm brown (at least they were brown in the photo) googly eyes, it’s rather fond of you as well. I hope your dountless saintly ling suffering partner is open to expressions of hominid-vegetabilian affection
        3. Not to me, you don’t. Be-leeve me, I understand. Been known to post a relevent photo or two myself, before I got a better handle in the habit. Good luck with that, and just btw I offer recovery coaching sessions at more money per nanosecond than the average laborer makes in a week…
        4. Thanks a lot

        Liked by 1 person

  2. That is astonishing, even for my country; it is so astonishing, I can’t quite believe it – mainly because Brussels sprouts are the Devil’s food. Mind you, anything’s possible; I remember hedgehog-flavoured crisps being launched to a great fanfare years ago. They were disgusting – I’ll never eat another hedgehog. Merry Christmas – and God bless us, every one.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow! I’ve seen some weird things – wasabi kit kats come to mind- but I would have thought the market for brussel sprout chips would’ve pretty limited. I wonder if they will make it to Australia?

    Liked by 1 person

    • My best guess is that they’ll make it to the landfill, but–well, I should have asked how they were selling at the store where I bought them. Hindsight. Always 20/20. (I do remember a friend seing us green tea Kitkats from Japan. They didn’t taste bad, but I wouldn’t say they tasted good either.)

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  4. Very brave of you to try those – I think they’re new this year and, like you, I can’t see them having a future. I don’t see how they can produce the natural side effects of the real thing, which renders them totally pointless 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • If I hadn’t been doing research for this very serious and important blog, I wouldn’t have either. But these are the sacrifices you have to make if you’re going to call yourself a journalist.

      Wait. I don’t call myself a journalist. What was I thinking?

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  5. I love Brussels sprouts, but never understand why they are so closely associated with Christmas. Unless there was a fourth Magi who wanted to introduce Baby Jesus to his greens at a very early age?

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m sure that’s the explanation. And he’s been edited out of the story by a mysterious cabal of shape-shifting lizards.

      Of course, there are those among us who claim that the only reason they’re eaten at Christmas is that they’re available. Lies! See above–shape-shifting lizards, I’m telling you.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. When we invite people to dinner, Scott always dutifully checks to see if they have any food prohibitions or major Ick Items. People will mention if they are vegetarian, gluten free or observant and don’t eat pigs. Of course they don’t mention liver or Haggis either but he doesn’t cook liver and I rebelled after my first bite of Haggis. However, not once, not twice but x3 have we served brussels sprouts to guests who had been interrogated and they to a woman and man looked (a) repulsed and (b) baffled when the sprouts appeared. They announced as their dislike as complacently as one might say, “Oh, I don’t like mosquitoes.” We grow our own and it’s so much fun to see those scrawny little Christmas Trees producing something green and edible (to us) on into December but now we always ask, “Do you eat Brussels Sprouts?” It’s a new way of observing the world as people are divided into those who do,and don’t. Today is Winter Solstice. Blessed Be, Happy and Merry. (Bah humbug is okay too.)

    Liked by 2 people

    • No one can possibly list all the things they don’t eat when someone asks (I’d ever think to mention haggis, or even vegetarian haggis). Maybe the new question should be, is there any food you can’t share a table with? Then you get to keep the sprouts all to your happy selves–and feel like you’re doing your friends a favor.

      Have a good whatever.

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  7. I was tempted not to share the abomination that is brussel sprout flavoured crisps with the world, but then I thought the world should be warned. You can tell how upset I am by the idea of it, because I didn’t go back and correct the grammar in the previous sentence. The sprout is a noble vegetable. The only reason it won’t be on my table on Christmas Day is because it won’t go with the mushroom risotto that will be my Christmas lunch.

    Have a great Christmas.

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  8. Her in the states (or is it still colonies?) the big thing this summer was pickle flavored whatever. I saw them as chips, dips, buns, even ketchup (tomato sauce). I really hope it doesn’t make it over to your side of the pond, if it does run, hide, jump in a TARDIS and skip ahead a few years. While I’ve pickles, some people should not be put in charge of deciding if something non-pickle now tastes like pickle.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. There seems to be a great urge to chipify anything that grows in the ground, hangs on a tree or sits in a bin long enough to be sliced thin. I applaud the dedication to your research and your willingness to take one for the team, as it were.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I am often found eating foods in unusual combinations. I will not mention them in detail as I am not sure the public or readers here could tolerate the images. My wife and children sometimes have trouble seeing it in person and real life.
    However, to the point, I don’t understand why anyone would order or eat Brussels sprouts on purpose. Put me in the against Brussels sprouts column. I have tried them more than three bites to see if they would grow on me. They did not.
    I did get to tge point where I can eat small amounts of other green vegetables. All is not lost.

    Have a happy next week.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. The crocheted brussel sprout is adorable. I’m not a fan of the actual vegetable. I can eat roasted ones if required but I’d really rather not. A third of the family loves them so I do cook them and nibble one ever so often just to see if they’ve grown on me. They haven’t so far. My siblings (who all live in Fife) all tried the seasonal flavoured crisps. Only one liked the sprout flavour so she ended up with all the bags of those.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m interested to hear that someone likes them. I wouldn’t have thought it was possible. Maybe it’s one of those genetic glitches–the kind that make coriander taste wonderful to some people and soapy to others. And I agree–my little sproutlet is adorable. It’s gone to live on a refrigerator shelf where we can say hello multiple times a day.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. They will try every flavour they can for chips, won’t they? That sounds perfectly vile, to tell the truth. We Canadians are weird enough with our Ketchup or Dill Pickle chips but at least that sorta vinegary-ish… (oh, just saw Lydia mentioned the ketchup ones – which are rather good, by the way…)
    And I am a fan of Brussel sprouts: raw, shredded, grilled, boiled, sautéed, etc… just no. Not in chip form.
    A very Merry Christmas to you and yours!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Lots of good belly laughs this morning between the comments and the blog. Honestly there are so many flavored chips here in the U.S. (dill pickle!!! wasabi!!! uuuuggghhh), that sometimes it’a hard to find salted ones (and the other one I hate is lightly salted; I want them salty. They’re chips). I have resorted to salt and vinegar and occasionally BBQ (always mesquite BBQ for some reason) when I want salt and sugar together. Brussels sprout flavored chips would have gotten a look, but never a purchase, so glad you tested them for me. Heh heh. I’ll keep taking my sprouts sautéed with garlic and finished with a dash of sherry to stem them. I like the knitted sprout, too. Quite cheerful. Merry Christmas to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I used to hate brussels sprouts, then I grew to like them, ate them for a number of years, and now in my dotage I hate them again. I’ve no idea why. And I certainly won’t be trying the sprout flavoured crisps if I ever come across them!

    Merry Christmas to you Ellen and to your partner.
    it’s been great reading your blog this year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Many thanks, John. And good holidays to you too. (Sorry–that’s an Americanism that doesn’t really work here. People tend to look like they’re thinking, “But I’m not going anywhere.” Still, it covers all the seasonal holidays and I don’t seem to be able –or at least willing–to give it up.) And I should add that I’m glad you’re here.

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  15. In Memphis they’re now selling potato chips/crisps with chocolate coating. They’re not actually that bad. I’m not fond of Brussels sprouts but I eat them if they are served. I figure if someone takes the time to prepare me a meal I should eat whatever it is. (Sometimes I pray before the meal, sometimes after and LOL once in a while I have to pray all the way through.) I think they’re having a race to see how ridiculous they can get with the flavors. I imagine a bunch of fellas in a back room playing a game of “I bet I can get folks to eat that”

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I’m a rather careful eater so have avoided getting into the crisps habit. Buttttt … if I were going to eat crisps, it would not be Brussels sprouts crisps! Very brave of you to try them, I don’t think I’d have managed to get three down. Probably would have saved them, though, to try out on unsuspecting friends.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Brussels Sprouts potato chips…first I’ve heard of. Don’t want to try. It must have tasted pretty close to the real deal for you to bin the packet so fast. I think that crocheted Brussels Sprout didn’t want to look green on camera because it didn’t want to look like a Brussels Sprout and be hated… I say it looked like a bug more than a vegetable :)

    Liked by 1 person

    • In defense of brussels sprouts–. Well, never mind. I do like them. I do understand why lots of people don’t. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some genetic component, the same way there’s a genetic glitch that makes coriander taste like soap to some people (me included). As for the crocheted one, it’s the eyes. You’re not used to eyes on your vegetables. Understandably.

      Like

        • I agree, they do look more friendly, but they don’t make me want to eat them. I’m a vegetarian so I don’t have to worry about my meal looking at me.

          As for acquiring a taste for brussels sprouts, my money’s on it not working. Unless (as I think happens) your taste buds get less sensitive over time, so that as you age (sorry–we all do) you don’t notice whatever it is you don’t like about them.

          Liked by 1 person

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