Liberal Arts Blog — Broccoli

Liberal Arts Blog — Sunday is the Joy of Humor, Food, Travel, Practical Life Tips, and Miscellaneous Day

Today’s Topic: Broccoli — flowers not fruit, from Italy, stir-fried, Woods Hill (West Concord)

Zucchini are fruit. Broccoli are flowers. What’s the difference? Fruit are seed-bearing parts of plants that emerge from ovaries. Flowers are the sex organs themselves. Vegetables can be fruit, flowers, leaves, or roots. Now that we have that clarified…

Broccoli originated in ancient Rome and flourished in southern Italy before spreading to northern Europe by the 18th century and to America via Italian immigrants in the 19th and early 20th centuries. But today the biggest producers on earth are China and India. As with other green vegetables, I hated the stuff as a child, but learned to tolerate it later in life. In fact, I have actually ordered broccoli dishes (voluntarily) at restaurants! The best broccoli dish I have ever had is available at Woods Hill in West Concord (with broccoli leaf pesto, fried leeks, cheddar and garlic aioli). One of the biggest culinary surprise of my life! Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.


1.The pungency comes from glucosinolates that release mustard oils when chewed. Apparently, this is part of the plant’s defense system

2. Broccolo in Italian means “the flowering head of a cabbage.” Brocco means “sprout” or “small nail.”

3. “Broccoli Raab” or “rapini” is a kind or turnip.

NB: Rich in nutrients — notably Vitamin C and Vitamin K.

BEEF AND BROCCOLI — is there a better staple of Chinese American cuisine?

1. The above dish is from Bon Appetit and uses a marinade that combines oystser sauce, Shaoxing wine, and soy sauce. What is your favorite variation?

2. Or do you prefer chicken and broccoli?

3. Or is Thai chicken and basil a better combo?


1. How about a raw broccoli spin on a Caesar salad?

2. Or putting broccoli on top of garlic-ricotta toast with honey?

3. Or how about “Broccoli Bolognese” with orecchiette, Italian sausage, Parmesan, crushed red pepper flakes?

NB: See last link for 27 ideas….

For the last three years of posts organized by theme:


So what are your thoughts on food? Fondest food memories? Favorite foods to eat or prepare? Anything miscellaneous to share from anywhere? Best trip you ever took in your life? Practical life tips? Random facts? Jokes?

This is your chance to make someone else’s day. Or to cement in your mind a memory that might otherwise disappear. Or to think more deeply about something dear to your heart. Continuity is key to depth of thought.

Passionate about education, thinking citizenship, and art.