brussels sprouts and a trip to the dentist

caramelized brussels sprouts with spicy bacon

 jump to the recipe

This post contains graphic scenes of dental violence that might shock or frighten a person. Reader discretion is advised.

asian sauteed brussels sprouts with spicy bacon recipe

There are certain things that as kids, we almost all hated. Chief among them, Brussels sprouts, and going to the dentist.

sauteed brussels sprouts recipes bacon

A while back I recounted the lovely tale of having three of my wisdom teeth pulled. I procrastinated booking an appointment to remove the fourth stubborn tooth which was fully grown, impacted and angled into the tooth next to it. (Such an aggressive tooth.) But I knew I shouldn’t procrastinate any longer. It had to be done. Also, I was worried that if I perpetually put it off I would end up having to take care of it in a country where it would cost a thousand times more. South America has it’s perks, people. Of course, you have to be ready for anything.


The needle pokes and spreads it’s potent liquid.

“I will start the cutting” says my dentist. Apparently ‘the cutting’ was insufficient, because he soon switches to a small drill. He sees the fear in my eyes. “Don’t worry…” He assures, as blood spatters up onto his glasses and nose. Yes, his nose.)

“You can help.” He hands me one of the tools to hold inside my own mouth. I am now assisting my own dental surgery.

“mmmm…” (45 minutes in) “How can I do…” He walks away, leaving me holding a suction hose in my mouth and listening as he calls someone on his cell phone. I hear him asking for someone to come help him. Phew, I think to myself, he’s calling in a specialist. 10 minutes later, a middle-aged woman walks in and greets my dentist with un beso (a kiss). Huh, that’s intimate. “This is my wife.” Oh. I now nervously observe a quick explanation of how to hold the tools. “More pressure, my love.” The tool slips. “Much more pressure, love! Like this.” Oh boy. She smiles at him. Well at least they get along.

He picks up a drill and gives it a few test spins. Bvvv! Bvvv! “Now I cut the bone.” What?! He starts drilling. Oh, he means the tooth. Close enough. His wife tries her best to apply the appropriate amount of pressure. She is avoiding eye contact with me. Perhaps that’s best.

Some of the dust from my pulverized tooth gets in my eyes. My dentist laughs cruelly good-naturedly. Once he feels he’s cut enough out to have room to pull the rest, he thanks his wife with another beso and sends her off.

Now it’s just me and the dentist again. And my husband, who has been reading out loud from my favorite magazine in Spanish to distract me. My dentist grunts as he pushes and twists and tries to force the half tooth and it’s roots out. “Is it normal that I am starting to feel everything?” I ask. “Does it hurt?” I consider honestly. “No. I can just feel everything you’re doing. Like it’s not numb anymore” “Oh, that’s fine then.” Fair enough. I feel every twist and snap, but he’s right. It doesn’t hurt. It’s just gross.

The dentist keeps yanking. “co-ra-ZÓN” he interrupts my husband’s reading to correct his pronunciation. “Ah, sí, gracias” says Mat, all smiles. Good grief.

He finally pulls the thing out of my mouth. “It’s all out?” inquires Mat. “It’s over, bébé!” I’m not convinced. “We shee abow tha.” Sure enough, moments later I’m staring at a hook-shaped needle and a whole lot of wire. “Now I shut the hole.” Fabulous.

I feel the needle pierce through my gums and the wire slide through, again and again. But hey, technically there’s no pain, I keep telling myself. The wire-like thread cuts the corner of my mouth as it digs in and slides back and forth repeatedly. That’s going to hurt later. Eventually the stitches are in and my dentist is wiping my face. “Must clean the disaster. The hurricane!” he laughs. Oh he’s having a great time. He leaves momentarily to get me some ice.

I slowly lift myself up and look around. He’s not far off. It is something of a disaster zone. I see the bloody tools, the used cotton swabs strewn about on various surfaces. Something terrible went on here. Did I give up any information?

My thoughts are interrupted by my friendly dentist, back with the ice and instructions on how to heal “the wound”. My face? The whole thing feels beaten. We make an appointment to come back to remove the stitches and just like that, we’re headed out to catch the bus.

After all that, you know what I think? My dentist rocks. It was not an easy surgery and he got the job done. On top of that, he didn’t jack up the price after things got complicated.

That said, I prefer Brussels sprouts.

brussels sprouts recipes

caramelized brussels sprouts with spicy bacon recipe

1 tbs cane sugar
1/2 tbs soy sauce
1/4 tsp crushed chili flakes
6 slices bacon
1/2 lb brussels sprouts, rough outer leaves removed, sliced lengthwise
1 tbs sesame seeds
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 tbs sesame oil
1/2 tbs lemon juice

The real surprise in this recipe is the bacon. I got the idea for the technique from an old episode of Top Chef, where the chef used miso on the bacon. I used what I had at hand and what I thought would give a nice sweet and spicy addition to the saltiness of the bacon. I am telling you, it is addictive!

sweet and spicy asian baked bacon

Heat the oven to 210°C (410°F). Adjust to a lower temp if your oven gets really hot.

Mix the cane sugar, soy sauce, and chili flakes. Line a baking sheet with aluminum and place the bacon on the tray, overlapping each piece slightly so it’s all connected. Brush the mixture all over the bacon slices and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until crispy and sticky. Remove and set aside to cool slightly.

Place a frying pan on medium heat with the oils. Sautée the sprouts until tender and caramelized. Add the lemon juice, shake the pan and add the sesame seeds.

Break the bacon into small pieces and add to the pan. Keep on the heat long enough to bring the bacon back up to temp. Remove and serve.

caramelized brussels sprouts with crispy bacon

Garnish with parmesan, if you’re into that kind of thing.

asian brussels sprouts with bacon recipe

How do you or your kids feel about Brussels sprouts and going to the dentist?

posted in sideshows, the main event, the opening act .

33 Responses to brussels sprouts and a trip to the dentist

  1. Crystal says:

    Ouch! Love the description…I might be in for a similar procedure soon. Probably cheaper to fly down and book with your dentist. I roasted Brussels sprouts for the first time last week and tossed them with Jamie Oliver’s green bean salad dressing. Mmmmm

  2. Donna Picard says:

    Oh my goodness…..we are still laughing, and twisted with pain!! You certainly have a gift for re telling the tale. Hope you are healing well. Brussel sprouts are not my favourite but am willing to give this receipe a chance since Jean-guy loves the little sprouts…..he can not wait to try them ( who ever said the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach certainly knew what they were talking about I would say don’t you think???

    • kale says:

      i didn’t know he loved the sprouts! this’ll be great for him, then. the bacon is to die for. and i think that expression is true for a lot of us, not just the men folk! 😉

  3. OMG. I recently had a dental procedure to remove some bone that was left after my wisdom teeth were removed a number of years ago. On my third visit, he yanking out a few fragments, the novacaine hadn’t really worked well, and it hurt so much I kicked him out of my mouth. I was done. Eventually the fragments fell out. Reading your experience was hilarious. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I know I would have freaked when he got on his cell calling for assistance. And yes, I prefer Brussels sprouts too. Infinitely prefer. Especially with your bacon. That looks amazing! Hope you’re recovering!

    • kale says:

      thanks for sharing your dental war story! good for you to say I’m done, get out! i just lay there and submit to the terrifying process, wide-eyed. my only vengeance is thinking, ‘I will write about this later.’ 😉

  4. i love brussels sprouts (HATE the dentist), and i am totally in love with what you did to the bacon! i’ve never really done anything asian with brussels sprouts before, and now i’m sorta (completely) like “oh my god i can’t sleep until i try this dish.” such a hilarious and delicious post!

    • kale says:

      thanks you guys! i’m sure there are a million ways to incorporate the bacon into your favorite dishes, so have fun! but start with the sprouts. they’re too good not to!

  5. Ouch…having 3 wisdom teeth pulled…and you even had to help? Gosh..I still have mine ;-!
    Brussels sprouts are one my top favourite veggies.

  6. Gah that sounds so painful my friend though I’m glad the ordeal is over for you 🙂
    LOVE this recipe today!

    Choc Chip Uru

  7. Sissi says:

    I have almost fainted reading your dentist visit description! I hope you were able to enjoy these delicious-looking Brussels sprouts.

    • kale says:

      nah, i made this just before the dentist ordeal. it’s been all smoothies and mashed potatoes for me! but i wanted to post them to give me hope. hope that i will one day soon be able to eat food with texture!

  8. Arrgh! Thank you for the warning. My wisdom tooth came up and it was on Christmas Day so I was hoping that it would go down again and it did. I really should get it out but your description of it brought back memories of getting the other ones taken out! 😛

    • kale says:

      i know, it’s awful. i’m sorry Lorraine! but i have to say, i am so relieved it’s out. now i don’t have to worry about it anymore. only step left is to get the stitches out. (which i’m hankering to do myself cause they are bugging me!)
      don’t worry, i’m sure it’ll go fine. i knew i was in for something, shall we say… rustic. but that’s all i could afford!

  9. Your dentist did a good job and I sure read throught your experience. So far no issues with my wisdom tooth but I need to visit the dentist for others related to my teeth.

    Love brussels but never made anything like your simple yet mouth watering recipe. Nice!!!

  10. I’m a total sucker for brussels sprouts and EVERYTHING is better with bacon involved. Especially spicy bacon!

  11. Oh my gosh! What an experience. It sounds like you should have been in pain, yet you weren’t. Either you have a very high tolerance for pain, or your dentist is amazing. Probably a bit of both. I’m so glad your ordeal is over! I’m with you – I’d prefer the brussels sprouts too. 🙂

    • kale says:

      oh no, far from it, Kristi! i am a big baby when it comes to pain. fortunately for me, my dentist has kind, reassuring eyes and the local anesthetic (even when it was starting to wear off) was much stronger than my fear!

  12. kale says:

    far from it, Kristi! i am a big baby when it comes to pain. fortunately for me, my dentist has kind, reassuring eyes and the local anesthetic (even when it was starting to wear off) was much stronger than my fear!

  13. I got to the end of your story and realised that my hand was clinching my leg very tightly. Even the idea of the dentist makes me feel weak and nauseous. I can’t even imagine having something pulled… My invisilign is bad enough!! I adore brussell sprouts. They are not given anywhere near the amount of credit that they deserve!

  14. I love brussel sprouts & I’m terrified of the dentist so I did not read your post – thx for the warning – Just wanted you to know I stopped by 🙂

  15. Michelle says:

    That is such a funny and scary story! I hope your healing all nicely! You sure sound like one brave girl. I would have been having a heart attack.

    Great idea with the bacon and brussels sprouts! It looks amazing!

  16. Brittany says:

    OH MY GOD WTF!! What a horrific dental experience!! I LOVE going to the dentist, and I had my wisdoms out when I was 19, but my experienc was great! AHHH! The brussels however, look amazing..bacon and all..and I don’t even eat bacon!

    • kale says:

      you love going to the dentist and you don’t eat bacon ?!? …are there many more out there like you? do you have support groups? how do you deal with the strange looks from those around you? 😉

  17. Funny to read this post today when I just got back from the dentist!.. and rewarded myself with a chocolate bar!

    Those brussels sprouts look delicious by the way!

  18. This looks so good. I hate the dentist too but I do like sprouts, love the asian flavours!

  19. Okay, I had to come read about your dental mishaps as of late. I’m hoping you’re all betterish by now.

    Also, when I had my wisdom teeth, I got high on the gas and punched the dentist in the arm while he was drilling.

    • kale says:

      haha, oh Jen! i’ve never had the pleasure of the gas… was your dentist OK? or more important, were your teeth OK?!

  20. Hannah says:

    Anyone who prefer a trip to the dentist to brussels sprout is plum crazy. CRAZY. Fabulous recipe!

  21. I think I would have fainted. You’re a trooper, Kale. I HATE the dentist. No matter how nice the guy/gal may be, I still HATE them. My butt cheeks clench together so tight every time I go to the dentist. I hope you feel better soon.

    On a happier note, these brussels look so good. I love the little green orbs.

  22. oh my goodness. this is exactly why all my wisdom teeth are still firmly in my mouth!! They’re not bothering me or any of my other teeth so as far as I’m concerned they can stay right where they are. The dentist scares the beejeebers out of me!

  23. Nina says:

    Oh your post reminded me of my dentist visits….how much i hate them. I just got my braces recently and have tough time dealing with it. By the way the brussel sprouts looks great and i love the flavors:)

  24. Tash says:

    Omg what a nightmare!!! I am so scared of dentists…
    This meal looks delicious though, yum yum! I love Brussels sprouts 😀

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