I was going to do a post on scientists and their depictions in romance novels, along with some thoughts on Ramon y Cajal’s thoughts on the ideal wife for a scientist, but I think I’ll wait on that until my thoughts are more fully formed.
Instead, I’m going to take the easy way out, and talk about eggplant.
I love eggplant. My favorite moment of summer is when the first eggplants are ready. If my eggplants were as productive as the tomatoes, we would have eggplant every day. Last year, we had fresh eggplant from the garden up until December. I loved it.
Did you know that in Turkey, they call eggplant the poor man’s meat? You know how I know this? My husband says it every single time we have eggplant. So I hear it quite often.
(Also heard very often around our house: “Did you know that Dr. Oz is Turkish?” and “It’s not an ottoman, it’s a footstool!”)
In the vegetable dishes that I think of as decadent, eggplant plays a starring role. That decadence comes from the fact that eggplant absorbs oil and when you slow cook it, the flesh turns to silk. Ratatouille is a great example of this.
Another great example, which I’ll be making tonight, is a dish known as Imam Bayildi, or the Imam Fainted. Whether he fainted because of how good it was, or how much olive oil went into it, the story doesn’t say. (Turkish cuisine can have some very evocative names: Ladies’ Navels and Ladies’ Thighs, for example.)
Imam Bayildi is deceptively simple: eggplant, onions, tomatoes, fresh herbs, and lots of olive oil, slow cooked for an hour or two. But the dish that results is much more than simple: somehow it’s become a summer afternoon on the Mediterranean that you can put on your plate.
So tonight, I’ll serve up a plate of this to my husband and I already know what he’ll say:
“You know, in Turkey, they call eggplant the poor man’s meat.”