In the spirit of our Christmas Sprout Face challenge, here are some entirely true facts about the magnificent sprout.
The world’s biggest sprout was grown by a Mexican farmer in the Christmas of 1986. It was as big as a Gorilla’s head. The local villagers believed it was the God of Vegetables and named it El Veggio Divinio (literally translated as ‘the Vegetable that created the Universe’).
During the Second World War, an English RAF pilot got in the wrong plane and accidentally dropped 40,000 sprouts over a German military base. The entire German command based there evacuated the very next today. The incident is referred to by European historians as the ‘Night of the Green Rain’.
An amateur golfer in Japan once turned up for the Tokyo Open with no golf balls at all. Under strict club rules he was not allow to borrow any from other competitors. By astonishing chance he had with him a handful of sprouts, which he was permitted to use as golf ball substitutes. Sadly, his sprout totally disintegrated on his first tee shot and he was immediately disqualified.
In 1924 Olympic silver medal winning canoeist, Sterling Micklestone, became the first (and only man) to cross the English Channel in a boat made entirely from sprouts. He also constructed a special set of oars from carrots, parsnips and turnips. By the time he arrived in Calais, onlookers observed that his craft was under ‘a ferocious attack’ from hundreds of hungry seabirds.
So disgusted was King Henry VIII by the sprout that he ordered a law to be introduced whereby anyone caught eating the offensive veggie was stripped naked and painted entirely green. No one was ever convicted under this law, although it is widely reported that several ‘Secret Sprout Societies’ formed throughout the UK. Some historians speculate that these sinister vegetable brotherhoods still exist today.
In the 1700s, a much feared pirate operated off the Cornish coast who went by the name of ‘Sprout Eye Bill’. He earned his nickname after a particularly violent bout of scurvy caused his left eye to swell up to three times its normal size and turn entirely green. ‘Sprout Eye’ was sensitive about his affliction and was known to chop the toes off any man who stared too long as his bulbous green eyeball.