That's my nickname for Brussels sprouts, the one vegetable that rises above the rest as the one that will have me running screaming from the room.

Okay, maybe not screaming.

But I don't think it was the taste of the shrunken cabbages (or green orbs of wrinkles) that has created my dysfunctional relationship with this particular vegetable. I blame Grandpa.

Don't get me wrong, Grandpa was awesome. He'd pull out his teeth at odd occasions to my utter delight, hold me when things got scary during episodes of Wild Kingdom and always encouraged me to try something at least once. The latter is what led to the whole anti-sprout situation.

During a family dinner, a dish containing things that appeared to be shrunken heads slowly made its way around the table. Somehow two of these items appeared on my plate; I carefully ate my way around them.

"Those green things are very good," Grandpa said.

"They smell funny," I said, using my knife to push them further away so as not to get the cooties.

"Can I tell you a secret?" Grandpa whispered into my ear.

I nodded. What five year-old doesn't want to hear a secret?

"There's chocolate in the middle of them."

Of course there wasn't, but he was really sneaky and had me try two of those horrible cootie-causing balls of damnation before I figured it out. Then I had a really big tantrum.

So those green suckers never had a chance, in my books.

And as Christmas approaches, so does my fear of a Brussels sprouts appearance at the dinner table, as my mother-in-law loves them. And she's not in the least bit evil.

When I was sharing my concerns with the DH over the weekend, he asked, "Why don't you try one?"

And that's when I realized he had fallen under the spell of Satan's weed. He probably has a bushel of them somewhere in the house, just waiting to sneak them into a meal when I'm not looking.