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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Seductive Dance of the Eggplant

They're great in the garden and so easy to grow. What could be more rewarding than a plant that pops up leafy and green as the valley of Paradise? And it's hardy, withstanding drought and beetles and weeds.

The fruit of its stalk beautifies the ordinary garden with a flash of color unlike that of the other ordinary vegetables gathered in the dirt. None compares to the full purple hue of its rounded curves. A painting of temptation in the Garden cannot convince without its inclusion. Aye, it is the essence of temptation itself.

A man, my man, is known to give into it every summer; planting it, harvesting much too much of it, despite my opposition. He is weak to its illusory promises. He thinks he can change it or that it will change of its own voluntary notion. But temptation remains temptation and its richly aubergine skin remains just a pretty cover-up for what lies within.

Bring it into the kitchen light, and it is nothing more than a burden to bear. Beneath that cloak of color is spongy, anemic flesh devoid of flavor. The more determined cook who dares prepare it by battering and dipping and dripping in cheese and sauce only achieves creating a disguise that slides off, revealing its true nature, as fork seeks mouth.

Summer after endless summer, by beloved and I choreograph the seductive dance of the eggplant. He plants and pulls weeds and picks and admires and allows the vile vegetable in its cheap disguise to capture his fascination. I endure the early summer dabbles, flashes in the pan, knowing that he too will eventually recoil from the tasteless fancy.

Everything trickles to an unspoken arrangement of my husband hiding his forbidden fruit in the crisper. Then I, when he is out, transfer the unwanted wages back to the mulch pile, where it has an opportunity to better itself and make a real impact on earth. All things have value - I'm determined to believe that - but not all things feed the summer soul the way a tomato or an ear of corn or a cucumber does.

The tiller feels the same way I do. Either that, or the seductive pull of the eggplants overcame its faculties. Not an hour ago, that tiller suddenly and without warning lit upon the obligatory row of eggplant, cutting it down in a moment of impulsive violent turbulence. When I finally managed to pull the willful tines from the soil, it was too late. The plants had been returned to dust and weeping foliage scraps. Nothing could be saved.

Nothing but me, and my husband, that is. And our summer, of course.

8 comments:

Jo said...

Have you never tried Imam Byaldi which is a great dish for eggplant. I do agree, fried the way you describe it is probably revolting. Then it also makes a great addition to Ratatouille. You really must be adventurous with this wonderful looking vegetable. Well, from what you write, maybe next year.

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Take picdtures of it, paint pictures of it, use in in centrepieces, write poems about it and then ...... throw it out.

Janna said...

It is a beautiful fruit. I too, typically feel a little betrayed when I try to go from admiring its aesthetics to actually ingesting it, but I have at least one recipe in my collection that does not fail.

Christine Rains said...

I might try to grow some since they are easy to grow. I've only got some tomatoes and watermelons this year, and they're doing very well so far.

Lisa said...

I'm a freak, I'll admit it--I love eggplant! But my husband doesn't, so we only have one plant in the garden this year...:)

Jessica L. Foster said...

Great descriptions of the eggplant. I love it in Eggplant Parmesan or fried.

Jo said...

I am giving you the One Lovely Blog Award. See my Saturday blog for details.

William Kendall said...

I've never tried it, so I can't comment on what it tastes like....

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