Lessons from an Eggplant


Does skin matter? 

Nana told me to peel the eggplant, slice it thinly, the long way, soak it in salt water, and then pat dry before dipping it in flour and frying.  So I did. I did everything the way Nana told me…the first time I made it, and it came out perfect. The next time I made Nana’s eggplant recipe,  I was in a rush, and I didn’t have time to peel it , or to soak it, or pat it dry. It still came out yummy. Maybe the skin doesn’t matter. Maybe an eggplant is still an eggplant no matter with the skin or without it.

The next day while eating the leftovers I noticed the purple ribbons of skin around each piece of eggplant, they didn’t bother me. Maybe I should leave them intact from now on.  We are idiots for peeling them off, we forfeit all the vitamins, minerals, enzymes and anything else mildly nutritious.

But as I continued to eat, new information developed, new evidence surfaced. I thought about  the farm this eggplant came from. What if it was sprayed with pesticide, and what if all the poisons were on the skin! I read that most sprayed veggies and fruits with skins are safe to eat as long as you take the skin off, because the skin acts as a shield.

So which is better, skin or no skin? Its like every other question in life…It’s relative.  Where did it come from? what was the soil like? If the land is good, safe and clean then eat the skin, if its corrupted with pesticides and hormones peel it.  If only every question were a matter of peel or don’t peel. But the reality is going to be very different for different people. What if you don’t like the skins, what if your allergic to the skins, what if you have no teeth! All things considered will have different outcomes for different reasons and different preferences. 

One man’s eggplant skin is different than another’s. in a perfect world vegetable skins are filled with nutrition, in a fallen world they can be toxic. So, which world do we live in?  this is the grey , the complications of living in a world with 7 billion varieties of people, with different DNA, and cultures, beliefs and sins.  how are we supposed to figure out what’s going into the eggplant skins and if we should peel or eat?  we don’t know what’s best for our neighbors -admit it. i mean , many of us don’t even know what’s best for ourselves!

I think the best we can do is recognize differences, rather than pretend they don’t exist. its not bad or shameful to say your a man and I’m a woman, and that’s ok that we aren’t the same,  the same skin, the same race, the same faith, maybe you need different things than I do, You and I don’t have an answer for everyone else, but then again we don’t need answers  for everyone, we only need the answer for ourselves. 

can we please just figure out what is happening within the borders of our own lives and deal with it appropriately without apologies. I’m eating the skin because I live on an organic farm and the skin is nutritious for me, but I get it that you might live beside Monsanto and for you the skin is toxic, is that ok that not everything is equal.   I only have to know what’s in my own skin and make my choices based on that.   and if you don’t like what’s in your skin than change it, don’t tell me to peel when I should eat! we need to get out of each others space, rather than deciding what’s right for me must be right for everyone. 

people are always saying skin doesn’t matter, the outside isn’t important. but it is. skin matters- how much money a year do we spend on skin products? our money votes and skin matters trust me. How differently are you treated when your skin is wrinkled and worn and saggy, or burned, or pimply. doesn’t it matter to the person who wears it? Doesn’t it matter to the people seeing it. What about people of different skin colors shouldn’t we all be allowed to love our skin color and believe it matters? we say it shouldn’t matter, we should treat everyone the same, yes true we should, we are all eggplants inside the skin, but the reality is we don’t. We say that, we condemn others but we all engage in a variety of behaviors based on skin. Is it bad? we tend to think of the negative side, but what about this: the man who shows regard for the elderly woman walking towards him, he opens the door he helps with her bags, he smiles and turns a gentle tide all because her skin reveals to him that she is elderly, fragile and needy.  

do we rob mankind of treating somebody different in a positive way because we so fear the negative? do we strip each other of every behavior because some are unacceptable. maybe if we would all stop trying so hard to prove that we are all the same, others would stop trying so hard to prove that we aren’t. People want to be unique and recognized for it, they want to stand apart. Shouldn’t we let that happen. Different vegetation need different amounts of light and ph and moisture. If we began to treat all plants alike because they are all plants and its fair to do so, many would die. what are we 5? do we all need the same? looking different reveals our unique needs. someone may ask me, “do you wanted to be treated differently because your a woman?” YES!  and it doesn’t have to be  negative. I just don’t want to be treated badly. 

People want to celebrate their difference how can we do that , if we don’t take all things into consideration. How about we start acting the way we want to be treated now that’s a novel idea?

The eggplant skin taught me so much today, but mostly how different we all are in magnificent ways and its all relevant and keep a good vegetable peeler on hand for emergencies.

Nana’s Eggplant Parmesan

find 2 nice eggplants not to big

peel and slice lengthwise

soak in water with salt (2 TBS) for an hour

meanwhile: whisk together 3 eggs and 1/2 milk in a bowl

fill a second bowl with 3-4 cups of flour, 1/2 fresh grated parmesan cheese, 1/2 tsp. oregano

take the eggplant slices out of water and pat each one dry nicely

coat each slice first with the egg and milk mixture by dipping it in, then in the flour mixture. Coat the eggplant all over with the flour and shake off excess. Fry them nice and easy in a large skillet with a lot of olive oil (1/2 C.)  Remove from pan once getting browned. I can usually cook about 3 at a time. Set them on a brown paper bag or a paper towel to get rid of oil. Once fried. Take your sauce and line the bottom of a baking pan. Then goes in your first layer of eggplant, then a layer of parmesan freshly grated cheese, then another layer of eggplant then parmesan cheese. Mozzarella goes on the top. and bake or broil in the oven until slightly browned and bubbly.

ingredients: Mozzarella cheese, fresh grated Parmesan cheese, 2 eggplants, tomato sauce, milk, egg, flour.




Leave a Reply