Cruciferous Me

I like broccoli. I usually eat it raw dipped in hummus or (I know I’ll get in trouble for this) mayonnaise. Sometimes I chop it up and put it in an omelette with onions. I try not to cut my finger when I do that. The blade on my favorite knife has dulled over time so I feel safe, but you never know. I take my life in my hands whenever I’m cooking, and I’m not even counting week-old tilapia.

The other day I steamed broccoli and ate it with garlic, olive oil, salt, and chili pepper. If you chop it fine enough and add it to pasta, you’ve got yourself a legitimate meal. I mean one you can admit to in polite company, which is to say company that isn’t out to chop you up. Most of what I prepare is not legitimate, though, so I wouldn’t serve it to guests, not that I ever have any. They’d have to eat on the couch, although a finer couch would be hard to find (see In Praise of Couches).

I bring up broccoli by way of confession, because I have failed to live up to my promises to stay away from YouTube. I can’t help it. I can’t pull myself away, even after wasting hours watching the most absurd videos, which have turned out not to be so absurd, after all. To wit, Tony Fauci and his email trail. You’d think he would have learned a lesson or two from Hillary. To add the proverbial insult to injury, they now tell us that UFOs exist and Martians have been here all along, perhaps undercover. That may explain a few dates I have been on.

Over the past few days I have spent hours watching so-called “reaction videos” of people hearing the Bee Gees for the first time. Having spent my high school and college years in the 70s, I find it incredible that there are people who have never heard of the Bee Gees, but then I wouldn’t know Billie Eilish if I ran her over in the Safeway parking lot, which is pretty near impossible because I walk there.

Watching all these videos, it was inevitable that I would run across an entire genre of Cross Fit-paleo-nutritionist-body builder-dietician-weigh lifter-strength trainer-diet coach-herb specialist-testosterone booster-estrogen busting experts talking about vitamin supplements and “men over 50” (see Slow Down, People). One of them goes on and on about “mitochondrial dysfunction,” which I thought meant you had a hard time breathing, but apparently not. The result is that I have been hooked as if on reaction videos. I suppose if one of these muscle-bound guys started dancing to “Stayin’ Alive,” I’d subscribe. As it is now, I window shop but do not buy. I think that makes me a troll. I’ll have to check with my marketing guy about that. Far be it from me to be on the wrong side of the social media police.

These guys have convinced me of the need for cruciferous vegetables in my diet. I say “guys,” because there is one woman in the bunch, a medical doctor, who talks very fast about testosterone. I watched that video but skipped another on masturbation. You have to draw the line somewhere. And I was drawn immediately to cruciferous, because of its Latin etymology (crucifer, or cross bearing). What could be better than a vegetable with theological ambitions? At first, I thought its origins related to “ferous,” which would have meant iron and been thoroughly boring, but the flowers have four, equally-shaped petals. Et voilà.

In case you’re wondering (and why wouldn’t you be?), there are other cruciferous vegetables. Broccoli shares the name with cauliflower, cabbage, kale, garden cress, bok choy, and Brussels sprouts. These are rich in enough vitamins and minerals to give you washboard abs for the beach this summer. I might be wrong about that, though. I could be confusing YouTube videos.

I have a fondness for Brussels sprouts for what they do to your urine even though during my last visit to Brussels I was disappointed to learn that they were nowhere to be found. That, in the city of the famous pissing boy! The locals made up for this calamity with Belgian waffles, chocolate, and Chimay beer (see If It’s Tuesday).

Broccoli remains my crucifer of choice. I can even recall a time when I existed on broccoli, raisins, and martinis (it wasn’t that long ago). Then someone told me that each one of them was enough to produce gas, which explained a lot. Taken together, they made for an “exhaustive” experience.

I promise to lighten up on YouTube. I give you my word.

Image credits: feature by Mae Mu on Unsplash; broccoli stalk by Vinicius Löw on Unsplash; broccoli heads by Waldemar Brandt on Unsplash. Want more? Go to Robert Brancatelli. The Brancatelli Blog is a member of The Free Media Alliance, which promotes “alternatives to software, culture, and hardware monopolies.”


  1. Brussels sprouts are my favorite crucifer, by far. They don’t have them in Brussels by a different name? And if you are after interesting urinary output, you can always branch out and try asparagus!

  2. Phrase O’ The Week. Cross Fit-paleo-nutritionist-body builder-dietician-weigh lifter-strength trainer-diet coach-herb specialist-testosterone booster-estrogen busting experts.


    Take the rest of the day off.

    1. It just hit me – this is the 21st century version of ‘supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’!

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