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Is It Broccoli?

Jun 18, 2021

Many plants in your supermarket produce section look different, but are actually the exact same species: Brassica oleracea. Broccoli is one such plant, so in this game, comedian Bethany Van Delft (Parentalogic and "The Ten News,") and Tanya Morgan rapper Donwill try to weed out which cunning crops are secretly broccoli.

Heard on Better Call Saul & The Mandalorian's Giancarlo Esposito; Hacks.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Thanks, Jonathan. We're playing games with comedian Bethany Van Delft and Donwill from the hip-hop duo Tanya Morgan. Are you ready for another one?

BETHANY VAN DELFT: Yes.

DONWILL: I am.

EISENBERG: All right. So also, when we talked to you before the show, you told us a little bit about what you're interested in. Donwill, you told us that you're interested in gardening.

DONWILL: I am.

EISENBERG: And Bethany, you told us that you're interested in the culinary arts. So we have a great game for you. In your supermarket's produce section, there are a lot of plants that look very different but are actually the exact same species, Brassica oleracea.

VAN DELFT: Oh.

EISENBERG: In other words, what we're trying to say is that a whole bunch of vegetables are all just secretly broccoli.

DONWILL: This is like when I found out cucumbers were fruit.

(LAUGHTER)

JONATHAN COULTON, BYLINE: So we have a game for you called, is it broccoli? And this is how this is going to work. We're going to name a piece of produce. All you have to do is tell us if it is a cultivation of Brassica oleracea, i.e. it is broccoli, or if it's actually an entirely different plant species, i.e. it is not broccoli. And listeners, if you have any complaints about this game and the way we're talking about the taxonomy of vegetables, please send any complaints to shortwave@npr.org.

DONWILL: (Laughter).

EISENBERG: OK.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Donwill, this first one is for you - cauliflower. Is it broccoli?

DONWILL: So I want to say yes because it looks...

EISENBERG: (Laughter).

DONWILL: ...So much like broccoli. But I know...

VAN DELFT: Right?

DONWILL: ...This is a yes-or-no thing. But is that what makes it not broccoli? Is it, like, the ghost of broccoli? Is it kind of, like...

(LAUGHTER)

DONWILL: Is it, like...

EISENBERG: (Laughter) What?

DONWILL: ...Destined to...

EISENBERG: The ghost of broccoli.

COULTON: It is like ghost broccoli. Yeah.

EISENBERG: Why don't they market that? Oh.

COULTON: I don't know.

VAN DELFT: The ghost of broccoli.

DONWILL: I'm...

COULTON: Spooky broccoli.

DONWILL: Spooky. I like - we have broccoli raab and spooky broccoli. I'm going to go with spooky broccoli.

EISENBERG: (Laughter).

DONWILL: It is broccoli, in my opinion. I think it's broccoli.

EISENBERG: It is. Yes, you are right. Absolutely, it is broccoli.

VAN DELFT: (Laughter).

COULTON: Do you know what I wish was better? I just made a roasted cauliflower head, you know, where you...

EISENBERG: Yeah.

VAN DELFT: Yeah.

COULTON: ...Cook the whole...

DONWILL: Yeah.

COULTON: I wish was better 'cause it looks good. And then I ate it. And I was like, this is OK. But ultimately, it's just cauliflower. It was a little disappointing.

VAN DELFT: Can I give you a tip?

COULTON: Yeah, please.

VAN DELFT: Oil it up good with olive...

COULTON: Yeah.

VAN DELFT: ...Oil. Salt it more than you think is OK.

EISENBERG: (Laughter).

VAN DELFT: And put it upside-down on a sheet pan at 425 for 20 minutes. Don't touch it.

COULTON: Upside-down, head down, you're saying.

VAN DELFT: Yes...

COULTON: Ah.

VAN DELFT: ...Because...

DONWILL: Listen.

VAN DELFT: ...The little - it will caramelize.

COULTON: Little florets.

VAN DELFT: It'll burn a little bit. It'll caramelize...

COULTON: Yeah.

VAN DELFT: ...A little bit. And then it's still not going to be exactly what you want to eat. But it's very...

(LAUGHTER)

VAN DELFT: ...Very good.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) It's getting closer.

COULTON: (Laughter).

VAN DELFT: It's very good.

EISENBERG: (Laughter).

COULTON: All right. OK, Bethany.

VAN DELFT: Yes.

COULTON: Collard greens - are they broccoli?

VAN DELFT: I think that this is tricky. And I think broccoli does have leaves. Like, all we ever see is the head with the florets, right?

COULTON: That's right.

VAN DELFT: But there are leaves underneath it.

EISENBERG: Yes.

VAN DELFT: What if...

EISENBERG: Good.

VAN DELFT: ...Somebody cut those leaves off and stewed them for a long time? Would they be collard greens? Maybe. So I'll say yes.

COULTON: You are correct.

EISENBERG: (Gasping).

COULTON: Collards and kale, also the same species - all three, the same species.

VAN DELFT: OK. I'm done. Goodbye. Thank you for having me.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Yeah. You're great. You're doing great.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: All right. Donwill, asparagus - is it broccoli?

DONWILL: It is not broccoli.

COULTON: (Laughter).

VAN DELFT: Confident.

EISENBERG: Yes. You were...

COULTON: Gut response is correct.

EISENBERG: That's right. Yeah. It's not broccoli. No.

COULTON: All right, Bethany, chives. Are chives broccoli?

VAN DELFT: No. Chives are not. They're the...

EISENBERG: (Gasping).

VAN DELFT: ...Onion family, correct?

COULTON: Yeah. You...

VAN DELFT: Oh, OK.

COULTON: ...Were correct. They're in the allium family along with onions, garlic, leek and scallions, also daffodils, related to those things.

EISENBERG: Yeah.

VAN DELFT: Oh.

COULTON: But don't eat them because they're poisonous.

VAN DELFT: Oh.

EISENBERG: All right, Donwill, Brussels sprouts. Is it broccoli?

DONWILL: Yes. No. Yes?

EISENBERG: Ah.

(LAUGHTER)

DONWILL: I don't know.

(LAUGHTER)

DONWILL: I'm so confused.

(LAUGHTER)

DONWILL: Like, I've broken my brain. I'm going to go final answer, final answer, final answer. Yes, yes, yes.

EISENBERG: Yes, they are. They are. Brussels sprouts are broccoli.

VAN DELFT: Yay.

EISENBERG: Do you like Brussels sprouts? Do you both like Brussels sprouts or not like them?

VAN DELFT: I like them (laughter) oiled and salted.

EISENBERG: Yes. And way...

COULTON: Yes.

EISENBERG: ...Too much salt.

COULTON: Yes.

DONWILL: Yup.

VAN DELFT: And deep-fried - oh, my gosh.

EISENBERG: Oh...

COULTON: Oh, yeah. Those are good.

EISENBERG: ...So good.

COULTON: All right, Bethany. This is the last question in this game - kohlrabi, which is German for cabbage turnip. I don't know if you - I don't - I could not...

VAN DELFT: I...

COULTON: ...Picture one in my mind.

VAN DELFT: I kohlrabi all the time. But he...

COULTON: Oh, there you go.

VAN DELFT: ...Don't ever call me back.

COULTON: (Laughter).

VAN DELFT: Oh, yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Ah.

DONWILL: (Imitating Ed McMahon) Hiyo (ph).

VAN DELFT: (Imitating rimshot) Sorry.

EISENBERG: Nice - it's nice.

VAN DELFT: I think that it is.

COULTON: It is. You are correct.

VAN DELFT: Ah (laughter).

EISENBERG: Yeah.

COULTON: All cabbages, in fact...

EISENBERG: Well done.

COULTON: ...Belong to the Brassica family.

DONWILL: I did not know that. But it...

VAN DELFT: Makes sense.

DONWILL: ...Makes sense.

EISENBERG: So I would just like to point out, in that game, every single question was answered perfectly. I just wanted to point that out.

VAN DELFT: Nerd...

EISENBERG: Well done.

VAN DELFT: ...Alert - woo (ph).

EISENBERG: You both did great, again. (Laughter) Thank you so much.

Bethany Van Delft is a comedian, and she hosts a PBS digital series about the science of parenting called "Parentalogic." She also hosts a news podcast for kids called "The Ten News." Donwill is half of the hip-hop duo Tanya Morgan. And their latest single is called "A Whole Mood" from their upcoming album, "Don & Von."

Donwill, Bethany, thank you so much.

VAN DELFT: Yay. Thank you for having us. This was...

DONWILL: Yes, thank you.

VAN DELFT: ...So much fun (laughter).

DONWILL: Had a great time.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.