Saturday, June 18, 2005

Who Spiked the Brussels Sprouts?

For the third night in a row last night we had quiche. I will never, ever make two quiches at the same time again. I have said this before, but this time I mean it. To break up the monotony, I made Brussels Sprouts Cockaigne for our side dish. The carnivorous husband LOVES these, and asks for them often.

After reading about how nutritous Brussels sprouts are, I picked some up at the grocery store a while back, but then got home and just stared at them. I'd never cooked them before and didn't have a clue what to do with them. As I often do when that is the case, I pulled out my copy of The New Joy of Cooking, a cookbook that I paid only a couple of dollars for from one of my book clubs, years ago. As a matter of fact, that may have been my first cookbook.

In there, I found a couple of tidbits about Brussels Sprouts, and then saw this particular recipe, which included a snippet that said "Ethan Becker was always disappointed by Brussels sprouts - until he tried these." I didn't know who Ethan Becker was, but I tried it and found that he was right. It turns out, this guy is one of the authors, which I might have figured out earlier on if I had bothered to look.


Brussels Sprouts Cockaigne (adapted from The New Joy of Cooking)
  • 3 Tbs butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, cut in half
  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts, cut in half lengthwise
  • Kosher salt
  1. Warm the butter in a medium skillet over medium-low heat.
  2. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until beginning to brown.
  3. Remove the garlic from the skillet with a slotted spoon and discard.
  4. Place the sprouts cut side down in the garlic butter.
  5. Cover and cook over low heat until tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Arrange on a warm platter and drizzle with any remaining butter.
  7. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
The only thing about this recipe that troubled me was the name. I had no idea how to pronounce the word Cockaigne, and had even less of an idea what it meant. Was it French? If I tried to brag about this recipe, it ended up sounding like "Brussels Sprouts Cocaine." How perfectly distressing. I certainly can't talk about my strung-out brussels sprouts at church, for instance.
I asked mom, but she was no help. So I did the obvious and Googled the word. Apparently, Cockaigne is a place. In the U.S., no less. Who knew? And, according to, it is pronounced 'kah-KAYN,' not 'ko-KAYN.'
What a relief.

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