Green is the new black…broccoli deserves a spot at Thanksgiving


Illustration by Daniel Stewart

Broccoli is a understated vegetable and should be included in more holiday dinners.

Libby May, Reporter

Turkey—check; stuffing—check; broccoli—yay or nay?

Does this vegetable deserve a spot at the Thanksgiving table?

While most would say no, that broccoli is gross, and that it shouldn’t be eaten at Thanksgiving, I say—Absolutely! The maligned vegetable is a great addition to a meal, as long as it is done the right way.

Some people juxtapose the bitterness with lemon juice, some people sauté it in a sweet sauce, some people add a spicy flavor with Old Bay. There are countless ways to flatter the vegetable, even some that involve literally plopping a hunk of cheese on top.

At the May household, we cut it up and toss it in enough olive oil to cover all of the pieces of broccoli. Then we add a few key ingredients: ground garlic pepper and ground parsley, sea salt, and garlic. On a pan, at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes, the broccoli is browned, resulting in a crispiness that makes me ask for it every single night.

But people still insist that its taste is equally horrible as the detested… brussel sprout! But that’s a different story.

This hatred for broccoli has been in the movies and TV shows for years when kids refuse to eat the miniature, tree-like vegetable. They push their plates away from themselves, disgusted. Heck, we all know the animated series, “Veggie Tales.”

The only mention of broccoli is in the theme song. So, I guess it’s disliked so much that even a Christian-themed show won’t make a character for it.

Our 40th president, George H. W. Bush, would agree with this apparently popular opinion.

Bush said, on March 22, 1990, at the President’s New Conference, “I do not like broccoli. And I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I’m president of the United States, and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli!”

Well, I conducted a survey to show all of you broccoli-haters that it’s delicious and that this refreshing vegetable should be served on Thanksgiving.

In the 120 surveys sent to four different English classes, students were asked the following questions:

What type of broccoli do you prefer? Did you like it as a little kid? Do you like it now? Why do you think people dislike it? What toppings do you prefer to put on your broccoli? And finally, to test the main question of this rant, should it be served on Thanksgiving?

While most people said that they enjoy broccoli, half of them said that they did not like it as a little kid, but that they like it now.

Science department chair Jean Paul Bibaud explains the reason for this change in heart.

“When you are younger, you don’t necessarily realize that the food you eat has essential nutrients and vitamins inside of it that provide you with the sustenance that helps you be a healthy individual,” Bibaud said.

Bibaud explained that your taste buds are less developed when you are younger, which explains why one might begin to like broccoli as they get older. HHe says that a large factor is the bitter taste that broccoli has.

He then explained that taste passes through the limbic system: the emotional center of the brain. Any time something goes into your mouth and comes into contact with your taste buds, there is a neural impulse that always passes through the limbic system on the way to your frontal lobe, which is where one stores memories and emotions.

When you eat the broccoli as a child, the only association that you make with it is its bitterness. But as you get older and learn about the essential nutrients for healthy living, you develop memories of the healthiness of the vegetable despite the bitter taste. Kids don’t necessarily know that yet, so they refuse to eat the vegetable because of the single association that they make with it.

But once you are older and, if you enjoy broccoli, the question becomes: How should it be eaten?

“I love steamed broccoli, especially with butter and soy sauce,” Erin Williams (’18), avid broccoli eater, said.

Most students surveyed said that they like cooked broccoli. But, some students still dislike the healthy green food altogether, even after growing up and learning about the essential nutrients it contains.

According to Williams, a major reason for this is the texture and look of it.

“Maybe to some, it’s just an acquired taste,” science teacher Jay Foster said.

“I think broccoli, although it’s very healthy, just doesn’t have a good flavor,” Elsbeth Supplee (’20) said. “It tastes bland and boring; I’m not a fan of it.”

Sam Furman (’19), a broccoli fanatic, said, “Broccoli should definitely be served this Thanksgiving. Not only do I enjoy the taste of it, but it’s a refreshing addition to turkey and stuffing.”

It seems most students enjoy broccoli and agree that the vegetable should appear on the dining room table, along with the festive table cloth, the tall candlesticks, and, of course, the turkey and stuffing. Good choice.