If you grew up watching Living Single, or have caught it in syndicated reruns, you will more than likely remember the character Synclaire James’ desire to be a thespian. An “auc-trest” (actress) as she might say. One of her most memorable moments, other than when she gets the role of a naked announcer for a stage play, is her vocal exercise using the simple word “eggplant.”
She repeats the word over and over again using different feeling combinations. There was Sad Eggplant, Angry Eggplant, and Surprised Eggplant. This was my inspiration for dinner this weekend. I have never really eaten the thick and meaty vegetable; but I kept hearing Synclaire repeat eggplant with so much feeling and expression.
So, I decided to be adventurous. I bought two. Never mind that I had no real idea how to prepare it, but living this “healthy choice” lifestyle means taking risk and being open to food in new ways.
In the words of the vocally fabulous En Vogue, “Free your mind and the rest will follow.” In this case, the food is what follows. I just let the eggplant speak to me, and it certainly had a great deal to say. In one weekend, I made curry-mango veggies with eggplant, cauliflower, and carrots; there was a raw spinach and pesto wrap with sliced eggplant and shredded kale.
I even put a “lite” spin on the classic oven-baked eggplant parmesan with chicken which was filling, and delicious. I was impressed with the variety of meal options this one vegetable could be a part of, even though I had no experience preparing it. Even more impressive, I still have a whole eggplant to work with this week because all of the meals were prepared with just one. I have not always had such an open mind about food and cooking, but this encourages me to keep my eyes peeled for something new in the produce section of the super market.
On this happy and healthy journey, it is so important to keep an open mind, to try new, and be present in the process. Discovering eggplant was fun. But getting in my kitchen, experimenting with spices and flavors to create a delicious dish was more than just fun. It was enlightening. It serves as a reminder that living a healthy life is not just about limitations but exploration. If you are on a diet, it is easy to run down a list of things that you cannot eat; with a lifestyle, it is important to expand the list of what you can! There is no reason to get bored with veggies and fruits from crunching on apples all day. Create a party in your mouth, and try guava, papaya, radish, Brussels sprouts, pumpkin squash, apricots, purple cabbage, and yes, eggplant.
Are you willing to try something new and be creative in the kitchen? What is your “eggplant?” And if your eggplant could talk, what would it say? In other words, what veggie did you go out on a limb to try and prepare? How did you prepare it?