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ORAC
15th Dec 2006, 06:57
Us sprout likers have to stick together. Maybe we can found a UK branch. Now what´s the pattern for the velvet robes.... :ok:

The Spectator: The keepers of the sprout

With the possible exception of charades, no element of a British Christmas rivals the Brussels sprout when it comes to dividing families. In any well-ordered family, the sprout is a source of fierce disagreement, with those that love the vegetable on one side and haters on the other. There is no Third Way of the sprout. This gulf of opinion is highly satisfactory for those of us who love sprouts. It transforms a liking into a badge of honour, even gallantry, as we tuck into sprouts like so much green candy while siblings, wives and children turn pale at the sight.

When the Rennie family was first posted to the Belgian capital, a small part of me worried that the ‘Brussels sprout’ would prove to be a linguistic joke, and that they might not exist here at all. It was a needless worry. The Sunday market in our scruffy, friendly borough of Saint-Gilles is not just home to heaped piles of Brussels at this time of year. The market itself stands on what were fields full of sprouts right up to the 19th century. Still better, my corner of Brussels turns out to burst with pride as the birthplace of the global sprout industry. Saint-Gilles’s most notable citizens belong to a fraternity devoted to the sprout, the ‘Confrèrerie des Kuulkappers’, or ‘Brotherhood of Cabbage-cutters’, after the local dialect for sprout farmers.

With Christmas looming, an audience with the kuulkappers seemed imperative. After lengthy contacts, dropping The Spectator’s name secured an interview with their grandmaster, Julien Weckx, as he prepared their annual feast in an ornate inner chamber of the Saint-Gilles town hall on a recent weekend. For their banquet, the brotherhood dresses up in velvet robes and consumes such delights as venison with sprouts, sprouts with bacon and the ‘Boulette des Kuulkappers’ (a meatball wrapped around a single sprout, like a giant savoury gobstopper)...................