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Brussels sprouts make excellent projectiles, but only if they're boiled and undercooked. This much I discovered from experience as a youngster in the school refectory as we drew towards this festive time of year. Ho ho ho, what japes. I use the term "refectory" with precision: high ceiling, wood-panelled walls, long tables …

  1. quxinot


    A rant from Dabbsy. The perfect Christmas gift for all!

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Hooray!

      Thanks. Should be here again for NYD.

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Hooray!

        Assuming the Illuminati sprout-drone doesn't crash-land on your head in the meantime. Watch the skies!

  2. chivo243 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    accidental aerial food delivery!

    I once tripped and launched a pizza off of the tray, it will forever be a slo-mo moment in my mind. Whooof whoooof whoooof glop! and the pizza skids across the floor!

    That flingin' food thing didn't fly while grandpa was at the head of the table. I saw aunts and uncles marched off to their rooms after one volley. I believe the projectiles were peas, and no two rail cannons.

    Happy Holidays Dabbsy! Take the rest of the year off!

    1. AndrueC Silver badge

      Re: accidental aerial food delivery!

      I had an incident with a dessert once at a party. I ran back to my chair carrying it and tripped over a guy wire. It was a trifle embarrassing.

      1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

        Re: tripped over a guy wire. It was a trifle embarrassing.

        You should sue for torte.

        1. AndrueC Silver badge

          Re: tripped over a guy wire. It was a trifle embarrassing.

          Unfortunately I think the case would crumble.

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: accidental aerial food delivery!

      and the pizza skids across the floor

      In my house the 5-second rule definately doesn't apply - usually because .25 of a second after the food hits the floor[1] there's usually a canine or feline head investigating it..

      And no, I'm not going to pick it up and just try and cut of the dog-slobbered bit. I'm not *that* desperate.

      [1] Even the stuff that dogs shouldn't eat. Making a bread pub and a bit of the batter (containing raisins - a definate no-no for dogs) dropped on the floor. One blur of black-and-tan later and Hey Presto! - clean(ish) floor.. Fortunately, said dog appeared to suffer no ill effects from the 1-2 small dried grapes..

  3. Gene Cash Silver badge


    (Brussels sprouts have actually gotten pretty tasty)

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: ObXKCD

      The only way sprouts can be made tasty is to deep fry them in bacon fat. Then serve the bacon to humans and feed the sprouts to the hogs for the next batch.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Totally agree. Brussel sprouts are an abomination and should be consigned to feeding pigs.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Pigs have done what to deserve this, precisely?

          Incidentally, in Gerard's Herbal you will learn of a plant product which can be made edible if cooked with oil and well seasoned, but is really fit only for pigs.

          Sweet potatoes.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Two thumbs down - obviously missed the reference to "abomination" and the Gadarene Swine, and failed to parse the next bit in which I pointed out that various plants have in the past been regarded as unfit for human consumption, which nowadays are not.

            tl;dr missed the point, dears, I am quite happy eating Brussels Sprouts.

            1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

              .. and all these years I thought it was gaberdine swine. That older brother of mine has a lot to answer for.

              Oh, and I also actually like Brussels sprouts.

      2. Muscleguy

        Re: ObXKCD

        Actually THE best way to cook sprouts is to hot, hot, hot stir fry them. You need a smoking hot wok and tailed and halved sprouts, fry until well browned even slightly charred. I like to add a sprinkling of a resinous dried herb such as thyme or rosemary YMMV. Takes less than 5 minutes and they go all nutty, seriously, nutty sprouts. But your wok has to be HOT and no underdoing them.

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Scot living in Scotland so deep frying in bacon fat is in my dna but sprouts need the Eastern touch.

        Mrs Muscleguy used to warm them through like that with chestnuts at Xmas. But she never did them hot enough or realise that vacuum packed chestnuts just need heating through so add them at the end or they dry out. Anyway I did them properly one year and the result was very much better.

        I buy sprouts at times other than xmas just to stir fry them. When you get them home packed in plastic though take them out and put them in those string bags Sainsbury’s sell for 30p in the veg section. Stuff lasts longer than in plastic and slightly dried veg is better than slimy and rotten veg.

        1. Fabrizio

          Re: ObXKCD

          I've lived a considerable amount of time in Brussels and the correct way of cooking them indeed involves bacon, but try this recipe next time:

          * Parboil the sprouts

          * In a pan with just a few drops of your choice of vegetable oil, slowly cook some fat bacon until it's crunchy

          * Remove the bacon

          * In the hot bacon fat that's now left in your pot, stir-fry the parboiled sprouts until nearly done

          * Add the bacon and some finely chopped shallots back in.

          * Stir until shallots are golden

          * Finish off with some ground pepper and nutmeg

          * Serve with boiled potatoes

          P.S. "some bacon" = at a minimum half the weight of the sprouts, at a maximum equal weight of bacon and sprouts

          P.P.S. they just call them "sprouts" in Brussels and any other sprouts are called by their full name: soy bean sprouts, wheat sprouts, ...

          P.P.P.S. Supposing the icon next to Sherlock Holmes is the Hercule Poirot one...

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: ObXKCD

            "In a pan with just a few drops of your choice of vegetable oil, slowly cook some fat bacon until it's crunchy"

            Instead of veg oil, use a tiny bit of water, 2-3Tbs (50-75ml) or thereabouts (experiment for your quantity of bacon). The water comes up to boiling, which is hot enough to melt bacon fat but not hot enough to cause sticking. As the bacon renders, the water boils off leaving pure bacon fat to finish the cooking, un-tainted by any lesser grease.

          2. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

            Re: ObXKCD

            Madness. Utter madness. The lot of you. LOOK AT ALL THESE STEPS!


            THIS is how you cook sprouts:

            1. Cook a steak HOT in lots of butter, biff steak out to rest, biff brussels sprouts into the same pan+juices, fry HOT till some charring, the end.

            2. No, really, that was it.

            3. Owright, if you're feeling really flash, maybe halve/quarter the sprouts first.

        2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: ObXKCD

          But your wok has to be HOT

          *Most* wok cooking (or at least, wok stir-frying) should be done with a very hot wok. Otherwise the stuff steams rather than fries.

          Which is why induction hobs are a bad idea for wok cooking - it doesn't heat the lower sides of the wok properly so, as you move the food around in the wok, it comes into contact with the cooler sides and doesn't cook properly.

      3. jake Silver badge

        Re: ObXKCD

        16 up and 16 down. That's good enough for me to sample them again ... it used to be more like 32 up and none down. Nobody, and I mean nobody, ever admitted in public that they liked sprouts.

        I have about a pound (half a kilo-ish) from a local grower, will cook them tonight and report back :-)

      4. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: ObXKCD

        sprouts can be made tasty is to deep fry them in bacon fat

        Au contraire - slicing them finely and flash-frying them with bacon strips (and, optionally, mushrooms) makes them quite tasty.

        I do admit to eating them cooked normally though. Where 'normally' equates to 'cooking them so they stay al dente'.

        Unlike parsnips/turnips/cabbage etc. Which should only ever be fed to food.

    2. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: ObXKCD

      Brussels sprouts were always tasty, but only if eaten raw. No vegetable benefits from being boiled to death.

      1. AndrueC Silver badge

        Re: ObXKCD

        I'll eat almost any vegetable raw (potato being the exception). Sprouts are okay but best eaten leaf by leaf. Trying to crunch a raw one whole takes strong jaw muscles and after a bout of TMJD long ago in my early 20s I wouldn't dare risk it.

    3. Suricou Raven

      Re: ObXKCD

      I ate a sprout for Christmas. Just one. Enough to conclude that they are very bit as disgusting as I remember.

      Bitter, boiled brassica balls.

  4. jake Silver badge

    First aerial food delivery?

    I'm sure the folks involved with the Berlin Air Lift will be surprised to hear that. (Like myself, I'm pretty certain that our correspondent from France learned about the BAL as a nipper in the wilds of Eurvicscire back in the '70s.)

    1. Dazed and Confused

      Re: First aerial food delivery?

      Before the Berlin Airlift there was Manna

      and I've sure there must have been earlier deliveries too.

      1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

        Re: First aerial food delivery?

        Well... manna. Gotta count as about the earliest food drop on record.

  5. Mark 85

    Not a new thing delivery by air.

    Hmn... we did aerial food delivery back in the late '60's whilst in the USMC. Those of poor sods stuck with mess duty periodically got carried away with our dispensing of food... Food fights weren't uncommon back then either. About 2-3 times a year as I recall. The downside was cleaning up which usually involved a call to the base fire crew to hose down the inside of the mess hall. It also usually involved some punishment such those responsible (or who were at least caught) spend the night scrubbing it down after the fire crew left.

    1. macjules

      Re: Not a new thing delivery by air.

      What happens with Amazon/Just Eat/Deliveroo drone deliveries in areas covered by the drone ban? Are they exempted or subject to the same rules as the rest of us, i.e. no drone, no food?

  6. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Shock Horror

    A Dabbs missive from yesterday with only ten posts? Either Christmas Day television has improved to the point where it is genuinely compelling, or perhaps commentards are worried about reprisals aka downvotes, maybe from Sir Rebel himself.

    I was reminded of my rebellious streak when Friends Reunited was a thing: I had an email from a classmate whose most vivid memory of me was the day when our teacher asked us to draw dinosaurs on pieces of paper handed out to us. Everyone drew big dinosaurs, filling up the sheets with images of big animals with dinosaur-type features. I incurred the wrath of the schoolmistress (Miss Giles, a formidable woman despite her diminutive stature) by drawing a tiny little dinosaur in the top corner.

    I confess I'd never heard of Molesworth. We had Jennings and Darbishire books in our school library (which IMO we had the good fortune to have as our home classroom for a year or two), and they became very popular when one of my classmates narrowly escaped detention for laughing incessantly during reading periods.

    Seasons Greetings everyone!

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Shock Horror

      Either Christmas Day television has improved to the point where it is genuinely compelling, or perhaps commentards are worried about reprisals

      False dilemma. I was too pissed to move by 11am and didn't recover until about 9pm last night.

    2. Venerable and Fragrant Wind of Change

      Re: Shock Horror

      May or may not be just me, but I got here late on account of my RSS reader got itself into a state where it just hung. I've only this morning found time to clean up the offending cache and restart so I have my feed.

      Does an RSS feed overindulge in the silly season?

    3. Will Godfrey Silver badge

      Re: Shock Horror

      Don't be so impatient. One has to 'warm up' to a Dabbs missive in order to savor every nuance.

  7. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    IT Angle


    you would have loved the thing gifted yesterday...

    A grade 1 sprout-a-pult... specially designed for flinging said offending vegetables at your desired targets....

    Mind you, the sprouts have to be cooked to perfection first.... hard enough to withstand the forces involved in launching, while being soft enough to spatter everywhere upon landing...

    At leats one good thing came out of it.... I'm now banned from another pub chain at xmas

    Ah well.. time to top up the festive nibbles and find where great aunt Edna hid her supply of brandy...

    1. Andy Non Silver badge

      Re: Well

      Many years ago in my teens, when you could use the ring pulls on drinks cans as spinning projectiles launched from the bit of metal they came with; I sent one spinning the length of the college refectory only for it to land directly in the mashed potato of a man mountain. As he started to turn green and his shirt ripped I focussed entirely on my own dinner avoiding eye contact with the seething Hulk in the distance. Luckily I escaped detection and took it as a warning not to repeat such aerodynamic experiments in case it lead to me getting a black eye.

    2. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Re: Well

      A previous boss used to take the paper streamers out of party poppers and fit a sprout instead. Choose one of the correct size and it would launch across the room quite nicely


  8. Baudwalk

    Launching vegetables... the missus?

    Unlike self driving cars, you're aiming for that 100% assured fatality rate, I see.

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Launching vegetables...

      you're aiming for that 100% assured fatality rate

      Ah - you've met my wife then? She might only be 5' 2" but she has a death stare that would kill an enraged water buffalo..

      Surprisingly, I'm still alive after being married to her for 32 years. She must be waiting for me to hit pension age before bumping me off..

  9. ThatOne Silver badge

    Drone delivery - again?

    Drones still searching which problem they might be a solution for? (Besides aerial surveillance and blocking airports much more efficiently than any bomb threat ever could?)

    I guess the Research Institutes of Sweden's "researchers" were just trying out the drone they got for Xmas, wondered what to do with it, and obviously remembered the recurring fantasy of the tech world: Delivering goods by non-unionized robots to anyone living in a property with a suitable landing park/driveway. It's so much more disruptive than using humans (Don't mind the human with the remote control running along the drone, he doesn't count)!

    But most of all it gets you the headlines of the sensation-starved press: Who among you had ever heard about the "Research Institute of Sweden" before? :-p

    1. Chronos

      Re: Drone delivery - again?

      Who among you had ever heard about the "Research Institute of Sweden" before? :-p

      I thought it was something like the Daily Mash' "Institute of Studies" organisation.

    2. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: Drone delivery - again?

      Just like with autonomous taxis, designers forget one big problem: People. People are jerks, and will not act responsibly if they see free food arrive ungarded.

      1. ThatOne Silver badge

        Re: Drone delivery - again?

        > will not act responsibly if they see free food arrive ungarded

        That's a secondary problem. The primary problem is seeing the food arrive at the destination: If you live/work on an upper floor of a building you have no chance to get food from a drone (or robot), period.

        Even if you can open a window (which you usually can't in modern office buildings), there is no way a huge-ish contraption with a substantial number of fragile turning propellers can get close enough to hand over your order safely. It only works if you have a large lawn and a butler who can go get the parcel for you.

        And I'm not even mentioning the pilot and autonomy problems. Because the drone won't fly alone, nor will it cover any big distances, especially carrying a heavy load. It's just a publicity stunt.

        1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

          Re: Drone delivery - again?

          Doesn't everyone have a butler these days? :-)

  10. Chronos

    Life is someone's beta test

    Dabbsy, you should know this already. Nobody has reached the state of happy contentment of the final release - and won't for a good long while, especially while we still have warring tribes who think their way is The One True Way for whatever reason, be that god bothering, pointless patriotism or political bent.

    Just enjoy the bugs and hope they get exposed by someone else's edge-case.

    Icon: Expected outcome of this round of testing. It would be so much better if we were to settle it with a sprout-lobbing competition...

    1. Dazed and Confused

      Re: Life is someone's beta test

      > It would be so much better if we were to settle it with a sprout-lobbing competition...

      What a waste of sprouts :)

  11. Carpet Deal 'em
    Black Helicopters

    Redefining "O thank heaven"

    7-11 did the first civilian drone munchie drop over three years ago(throwing in Slurpees and coffee for good measure). RISE probably did the first delivery in Sweden, but they really should've checked before making the blanket statement they did.

  12. BenDwire Silver badge


    As a 70's teenager myself, I thought I'd blocked out the appalling memories of the school dinners we had to endure (spam fritters, anyone?) but I have to confess that I too thought lobbing projectiles at lunch was such a clever thing to do. Picture the poor soul who happened to be the innocent brother of my sister's latest boyfriend, sitting there in his finest school blazer and tie, just about to tuck into his spotted dick** and custard. Lots of custard.

    For reasons only a 14 year old will know, it was a great idea to lob an oversized acorn in his general direction. No one saw me do it. No one saw the trajectory. What they did see however was poor old Nigel sitting there in disbelief as his bowl just exploded, covering his face and uniform in his entire dessert, like something out of a Tom & Jerry cartoon.

    I said nothing and he never found out. Unless he's taken up a career in IT in which case he just did.

    Sorry Nigel. I owe you a beer. Or a pint of Baileys, which is what I need to help me forget.

    **It's a pudding, not an illness

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Flashback

      It's a pudding, not an illness

      You've just reminded me of school canteen tapioca. Which should definitely be classified as an illness, not a pudding.

      And as for salmonella semolina pudding...

      1. BenDwire Silver badge

        Re: Flashback

        Apparently vegan cheese is made from tapioca...! Our nutritional overlords seek ever new ways to make the proles consume this stuff. But why??

        Pass me the bacon sandwich!

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Flashback

          Nuts make better cheese than tapioca. Cashews are by far the choice of various vegan friends of mine, followed by macadamias and almonds.

          Note that I said "better than tapioca". While I've sampled a few concoctions labeled "vegan cheese" that were actually edible, not one of them seemed like any kind of actual cheese that I've been in contact with.

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: Flashback

      spam fritters, anyone?


      However, my wife (who when we met, hated the thought of sausages because "you never know what's in them") loves them. And sometimes (when I'm away) fries spam to have in a sandwich.

      For someone of usually impeccable taste[1] it's extremely odd.

      [1] Her other major lapse was, of course, marrying me. Still, I'm not complaining!

      1. Olivier2553

        Re: Flashback

        The late and very regretted French humorist Pierre Desproges had a text where he praised this sort of vulgar food. You may be the finest gourmet and sometime enjoy very unfit cuisine or cheap wine.

        Going only with Champagne and caviar as good as they are, may grow boring and you need to be remembered why you prefer best food.

        There is a very twisted pleasure to be had by enjoying bad taste from time to time.

  13. Frederic Bloggs

    Re: car replacements

    If James May is any guide, a Fiat Panda 4x4 would seem to fit the (or maybe just a) bill. I know two owners who love them and, unlike the larger excellent Skoda Yeti (a Clarkson recommendation remember), it is still made.

    1. ThatOne Silver badge

      Re: car replacements

      Don't they shed fur in spring?

  14. JulieM Silver badge

    Bonkers Idea

    Using autonomous vehicles to deliver anything valuable is a bad idea. There are too many people who want to (a) take it for themselves, (b) stop you from getting it even if they don't end up getting it themselves, (c) modify the cargo in transit, replacing it with something potentially harmful, and (d) just test what measures are in place to prevent such shenanigans, by means of a direct attempt. And you don't know who these people even are, until you encourage them out of the woodwork by creating opportunities for mischief where none existed before.

    Somebody over that way ordered a pizza? Hmm, I could fancy a pizza right now *crash* Bummer, it's got anchovies on it. Oh, well, at least whoever ordered it will be pissed off and hungry now. Here comes the replacement *crash* And another one *crash* Wait, there goes another one in a different direction *crash* Gluten free vegan pizza? Jeez, I did them a favour bringing this one down! And here comes the replacement gluten free vegan pizza *muffled noises* ..... and there goes the replacement replacement pizza, complete with extra grains, real cheese and meat .....

    No, if you want to be sure a delivery gets to its destination intact, you can hardly do better than a human being desperate to earn a few pence and threatened with having to cover the cost of the cargo themself if the mission is not successful.

  15. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    A party popper with end cap and confetti removed makes a superb sprout cannon. Choose a well-cooked sprout and peel off leaves till it's a snug fit.

  16. BGatez


  17. Dr_N

    Christmas at Hogworts

    Sounds idylic. Did you wear a cape?

    Good luck with finding a decent car for a decent price in France, Mr Dabbs.

    (Hint: Steer well clear of Renault. Try a new car search on it throws up dealer cars and in-stock offers quite regularly,)

  18. Colonel Mad

    Dear Joan

  19. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

    Tooth Um Zup

    > "Please stand aside! Disruptive technology falling! May contain cashews."

    Ahhhhhhh Dabbsy, mate, that last was a stroke of genius.

    Barked with laughter when I saw this.

    Merry Christmas, mate.

  20. Manolo

    Sprouts for trick or treat

    My creatively naughty junior brother wraps Brussels sprouts in Ferrero Rocher wrappers and hands them out to unsuspecting children for St Martin.

    (The local equivalent of trick or treat: )

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Any technology invented by millennials is rubbish.


  22. 9Rune5

    Swedish design

  23. Lawrie-aj

    A timely limerick


    Apple's autonomous tractor

    Became the deciding factor

    In the death of young Jill

    As it rolled down the hill

    And changed into fourth and attacked her

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