Surprisingly Awesome

Lots of things in the world seem ordinary. But when you dig deeper, it turns out, they’re fascinating. Surprisingly Awesome tells those stories.

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#6 Broccoli

January 12, 2016

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Show Notes

The epic struggle of parents versus kids. Yummy versus gross. Humans versus broccoli!

The Facts

Surprisingly Awesome’s theme music is “How We Do” by Nicholas Britell.

Our ad music is by Build Buildings.

This episode was edited by Alex Blumberg and produced by Travis Larchuk and Rachel Ward, with help from Emma Jacobs and Caitlin Kenney. Andrew Dunn mixed the episode.


Mack Weldon



In an earlier version of this episode we said that Red Russian Kale is a member of the brassica oleracea species. We were wrong - it's brassica napus, which is similarly flexible and omnipresent, but different.  The error was pointed out by a listener who writes, "I also love broccoli, so much so that my grandmother claims broccoli was my first word. Usually when she tells this story, my mom is standing behind her shaking her head. So it's probably not true, but it does show you how much I love broccoli."

This is what wild cabbage looks like:

"Brassica oleracea var. oleracea" by Flickr user --Tico-- is licensed under CC BY NC ND 2.0

Here are some other examples of wild cabbage to help you get the idea.

A baby eating broccoli for the first time looks like this:


Compare to a baby eating ice cream for the first time, which looks like this:


Additional Reading

Brassicas: Cooking the World's Healthiest Vegetables, by Laura B. Russell

Thomas Bjorkman, Cornell Department of Horticulture, publications

Danielle Reed, Monell Chemical Senses Center, publications

Gary Beauchamp, Monell Chemical Senses Center, publications

Julie Mennella, Monell Chemical Senses Center, publications