Why is Broccoli a Bad Word?

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury,

Some vegetables get a bad rap. While others get their own cartoon spokesperson. Who hasn’t picked up a carrot and asked “what’s up Doc?”

And even if you’re not quite sure what the hell is wrong with Popeye’s facial tick, speech impediment and freakish looking forearms, you already know his favorite vegetable. Say it with me. It’s spinach.

I like broccoli. No, scratch that. I love broccoli. There I said it. Broccoli is and has always been my favorite vegetable. But it has way too many haters and I would like to remedy that.

You might say that broccoli has been given a “raw” deal.

One that I find a little “hard to swallow.”

(Sir, one more outburst of bad humor and I will clear this courtroom)

I apologize your honor.

It has been said… by me… that former president and CIA director George Bush issued a standing kill order on anyone who tried to give him broccoli. But that may not be true.

On Star Trek, Reginald Barclay, the nebishy, frightened, often misguided and socially awkward engineer was called broccoli behind his back by his shipmates. According to Star Trek’s writers and producers referring to someone as broccoli is an insult.

In the early 20th century, calling someone a tomato meant you thought they were good-looking. “She’s a regular tomato.” they would say. Or someone might say “He’s a real cucumber that one.” but I may have just made that up. Apple, Peach, even Onion Were all compliments at one point. But calling someone broccoli… “well thems fighting word, pal.”

(That’ll be enough of the old timey voice, counselor)


I love broccoli. I can steam up a bowl-full and eat it plain. I get the chopped broccoli sometimes and sometimes I get the full stalks but my favorite is the broccoli florets, the small ones. They’re so versatile.

Some of you may know that I don’t get out much. So when I shop for veggies I go with the frozen over the fresh, that way I can buy a few weeks worth and throw them in my freezer. Most of the time I steam defrost them or if I’m feeling impatient, I’ll nuke the little guys.

I like adding chopped broccoli to pasta or mixing it in rice. The stalks, I’ll throw in a stew with a mess of other – “flattering sounding” – vegetables. But florets are a meal unto themselves. I just pour them in a bowl. Add a little salt, some butter, if I’m feeling naughty maybe I’ll melt some cheese over the top with a little chopped garlic.

My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

But then I learned that broccoli is a potent anti-carcinogenic. When you’re not boiling away all the good stuff, it helps to block the growth of cancer cells and it’s high in Vitamin C.

It’s good AND it’s good for you. That’s a win… and another win.

So why does George Bush and the producers of Star Trek want to give us all cancer?


I withdraw the question, your honor.

In conclusion. I would just like to say that broccoli is awesome by itself, with butter, in a stew, with rice, with pasta, with cheese sauce, melted butter and as a pizza topping.

You haters better recognize. I rest my case.