I’m posting this because I know, as surely as I know that the sun will rise in the east and set in the west, my mother will spill the beans when she reads my recipe and notices that I put eggplant in it. Voluntarily.
When I was a kid, I hated eggplant. I thought it was one of the most revolting foods ever created. I was also a little dumb. So when the day came that I was left alone at the table, staring mutinously at the eggplant adorning my plate, I decided to throw it away. Surely no one would notice. And, perhaps, if the trashcan had been full, and if I’d been smart enough to put some trash on top of it, no one would have noticed. It wasn’t and I wasn’t, so when I told Mom that I’d eaten the nasty eggplant, she came and inspected my plate and then checked the garbage can. She washed it off and made me eat it.
If I’d had any remaining eggplant love, that would have destroyed it. But fate has a way of making me like vegetables by putting me in situations where it would be the epitome of rudeness to decline. Like yellow squash. I was at a friend’s house for dinner, and they served it and I dutifully ate it, only to discover that it was really good. (I’m a terribly good dinner guest, because I was taught that it’s rude not to eat what’s served to you at someone else’s house.)
My fateful encounter with eggplant came when I was filling in for one of my friends, who worked as a nanny, while she was on vacation. The father of the household made ratatouille for dinner, and I was aghast to see him chopping up an eggplant and throwing it into the mixture. But it was good. Really good.
So eggplant, while it may not be on my top ten list of vegetables, has gone from inedible to somewhat enjoyable. And when I see a truly lovely eggplant, in just the perfect shade of aubergine and with no flaws on the skin, one that’s not too big, I’ll buy it and make an Italian pasta dish with it.
And I’m a lot smarter now. If I had to throw away food that I refused to eat, I’d know enough to bury it in the compost or a few levels down in the garbage can. Nyah nyah nyah!
Oh, and Mom? I still won’t eat Spam.