I spent at least an hour this morning, photographing eggplants.
Ah, the joys of a day off, after feeling so pressed last week. After writing that piece on Thursday, my mind has eased, my muscles slowed down. Having felt so shaky, I wondered if I should publish it. But I remembered again what my Buddhist teachers helped me to see: true warriorship is allowing yourself to be vulnerable. So the fact the piece exists is its own reward. Your kind-hearted comments and compassionate letters helped too. I never expected such an outpouring, and I thank you. Writing is an act of catharsis, a release of its own kind. Having a few days to breathe is another.
And pregnancy hormones really do have a swarming-like-a-hive-of-angry-bees effect sometimes. There are moments when I feel Little Bean kick at me, and it’s as though my entire stomach is dropping down into my body. I stand there, and gasp, and hold my belly for a moment. Those are the times I remember — pregnancy is hard work. When I impose my old order on this new world, that’s when the hormones take over.
Much better to give over part of a morning to photographing eggplants.
The Chef was in the kitchen, roasting potatoes and whistling away. Outside, the light played like a small child on the grass. Sprightly and laughing, sunlight spilled over all of us. Lambent. Luminous. Leaping. I had no choice but to grab the camera, to capture the white pear blossoms dancing against the sky, the frail chives still alive after the long winter. And two Japanese eggplants the Chef and I had bought at Uwajimaya a few days ago.
I never did capture them the way I imagined, but that’s fine. Just the sight of those lustrous purple skins was enough to make me smile.
So did imagining bowls of smoky eggplant raita, the spicy moussaka I learned years ago from the Moosewook cookbook, silky baba ganoush, and of course, ratatouille. (A dish made even more famous by the cartoon movie with the rat, which we already know we want to buy for Little Bean someday.) As I tried to make the light play with the eggplant nicely, I could almost taste heaping spoonfuls of warm eggplant parmigiana: thick slices of tender eggplant sauteed in good olive oil, sprinkled with sea salt and handfuls of basil, soaked in plum tomato sauce, and covered in breadcrumbs (gluten-free, of course).
“Honey, when is breakfast going to be ready?” I called out, suddenly hungry.
But there are so many more possibilities with eggplant. Tomorrow, I think I’ll finally use these beauties, on the grill.
(We finally set up the barbeque! After writing about how much the pieces strewn across the kitchen bothered me, we just sat down and finished it. It may have been nearly dark when the entire contraption sat on our grass, and we may not have eaten our barbequed t-bone and asparagus until nearly 10 pm, but no matter. It’s finally done, in working order.)
I’m imagining a marinade of tamari, honey, rice vinegar, and ginger. (That, of course, after I salt the eggplants and let them sit, then squeeze the water out and pat them dry. It turns out that step really does matter. I used to skip it before. No more.) We’ll let you know how it tastes.
In the meantime, I’d love to hear: what are you imagining with eggplants?