Creativity

The green shoots of European economic recovery featured prominently in readers' suggestions of things to do with Brussels sprouts. Geoffrey Langley proposes making giant effigies of Bill Cash and Kenneth Clarke from Brussels sprouts then publicly boiling them by opposing groups of supporters on Maastricht Day to provide a safe, green and politically correct version of Bonfire Night. John and Fiona Earle see the sprout as an all-purpose Euro-logo, while Martin Brown suggests stitching them together to form a chain of office for a mayor of Europe. Alternatively, he suggests painting them brown for use as aversion therapy for chocoholics. RJ Pickles also wants to stain them with gravy browning, but his idea is to serve them as exotic shelled walnuts. He does, however, feel the need to form a Vegetable Liberation Front to free them from those nets in which sprout-hunters trawl their breeding grounds to catch them.

"Brusei ma fu, caro ed amabile," says Maguy Higgs, with apologies to Handel's librettist. "Pi dolci, gustabili, Verdi non gi." Reverting to Inglese, she spears hers on the other end of cocktail sticks to prevent finger-damage.

Mike Peart sees a use for them in our campaign to eliminate the greengrocer's apostrophe. You can use up two at once with "Brussel's sprout's". Or, he suggests, you could boil or steam them and then throw them away. "Leave them on side of plate until next year," advises P Harris. "Serve with couch potatoes and a generous helping of caper sauce from the gravy boat train," says Mollie Caird.

Duncan Bull proposes force-feeding Michael Portillo on nothing but Brussels sprouts. "Such treatment might not prove very efficacious," he says, "but would provide a highly enjoyable spectacle."

Other ideas in brief: indoor boules - with sprouts tossed towards a radish on a draining board ( J&F Earle); snowmen's eyes and buttons (P Harris); non-electric energy-saving fairy lights for green Christmas trees (Brian Penson); biodegradable golf balls (Norman Foster); green earplugs (Brian French); bottling the perfume from boiled sprouts to be used later to create Christmas atmosphere (G Langley), conker substitute to avoid finger injuries (several readers); logo for a junior branch of the green party (Philip worth); edible earrings (Sian Cole).

Mary Greenall has thoughtfully provided us with her recipe for "alternative hand-made Belgian chocolates":

"Carefully squeeze out any excess moisture from the sprouts and wipe off all traces of gravy. Next, pound the remains of the Christmas pudding into a sticky paste and generously coat each sprout with this mixture. Finally, dip the coated Brussels sprouts into a bowl of melted chocolate and leave to set." She says they're guaranteed to create a sensation among your friends.

Prizes to Brian Penson, Mary Greenall and RJ Pickles. Next week, we'll be telling you what to do with doorbells. Meanwhile, we seek unusual uses for those black remote-control thingies that you can never find when you want to work the video. Or failing any ideas, just something to call them would be welcome. Ideas to: Creativity, The Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL. Chambers 21st Dictionary prizes for the best ones.

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