An editorial in the Taranaki Daily News explains why so many people find brussels sprouts so unpleasant to eat.
The vegetables contain a specific compound which, if people have the taste receptors for it, makes them taste bitter and smell sulphurous.
An excerpt: (read in full here)
“The poor little brussels sprout; it has centuries of hate behind it. It is believed to have been cultivated as early as the 1200s in Belgium – hence the name brussels sprout – which means that hundreds of successive generations of parents have tried to get their children to eat them.
“And they’ve been doing this because they’ve known that despite their bitter taste, brussels sprouts are actually good for you. These days we know that they are an excellent source of fibre, folate and many essential vitamins, particularly Vitamin C. They’re also known to help protect against certain types of cancer.”