Patricia Craig Johnson --- Searching for My Ancestors --- Sharing My Life Stories

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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Eggplant, And Other Assorted Food Thoughts

In my quest to remain vegan I am heading into uncharted waters here. I want to try new veggies so I bought an eggplant. It is a very small eggplant to be sure, but I wanted to see what they are about. My mom never cooked eggplant so I know nothing about them and I never cared until recently to learn about them. I cut it open and saw all these little specks inside so I started to scoop them out of the center but then I realized they were all the way thru the thing. I was scooping out the entire vegetable. Whoa there.

I went to several cook books and found recipes galore, but not much about how to clean them and prepare them for cooking. Finally, I opened a well worn, patched up old cook book of my mom's. It basically said "you eat the specks". So now my next step is to find a way to eat the cooked eggplant. A sample taste doesn't taste very flavorful, so I may have to "invent a recipe". Wish me luck on perhaps my one and only experience with eggplant.

Because I am a vegetarian now, I use my dried veggies in my cooking. For several years I would go to Gering, Nebraska in the fall and bring home lots of home grown, organically grown vegetables from my stepdad, Lee Johnston. He loved to grow things and I loved to dry them. My mom was always glad to get rid of a little of the bounty as it meant less she had to figure out a use for. She was great at canning, pickling, and freezing, but there is a limit to what a person can do.

But, back to my story, when I moved to the Plaza I was tempted to discard my jars of dried veggies. Shall we say I was tired of moving and many times the dumpster was my way out. Fortunately, I resisted that temptation and brought them with me. Now, as I look in my dried veggies to add them to soups and beans and sauces and other things, I always look at the dates. I used to put a slip of paper in each jar to tell the time I dried it. What a delight to see August 2000 or June 1999 in a jar of green peppers or tomatoes or celery or onions. I am especially nostalgic when I see 2002 as that was the last "garden" visit before my mom died. How funny that a simple thing like dried veggies can take on a purpose. Imagine the thrill of archealogists that discover jars of dried seeds and food that the Egyptians dried thousands of years ago!

Ok, so my final verdict on eggplant?? I won't be buying it again any time soon, or ever. I fixed it with diced tomatoes, onions and green peppers and it is terrible. I almost had to eat it blindfolded as the sight of it is not appetizing to me at all. The taste is even less so. I can say I tried it but that is about all. Are there actually people that like it? I don't know as it is not a conversation item with me. Matter of fact, I have pretty much removed it from my vocabulary altogether!! Any eggplant experiences out there?

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