Marble Pedestal: Eggplants

An ode to an unsung hero

I’ve been fortunate in my life.

I was born into a relatively well-off family. I live in a rich nation. I’m pursuing a post-secondary education. But in one small but oh so important way, I’ve been criminally deprived.

Until recently, I very rarely ate eggplant.

In fairness, my parents tried. From the murky mires of my mind, I can dredge up foggy, fleeting memories of the elusive veggie chopped up in stir-fries. Sometimes it passed by the corner of my eye at the Bonnie Doon Safeway. Sometimes it was at the table at dim sum with family friends. But never was it a major fixture in my everyday palette.

Until now.

In the summer, when the sky and the future was bright, I took a stroll through the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market. Apples, like, good ones? Sure. Tzatziki? Yeet. Artisanal almond-stuffed olives? Gottem.

I rounded the corner to the vegetable stall. Tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, you name it. And then I saw it. The swollen purple cucumber itself.

The eggplant.

I had always thought of eggplant as greasy, slippery, and brown. But damn, this aubergine was LUSTROUS (that’s right, I’m calling vegetables lustrous. It’s 2018, everyone). For a couple days, I set that sweet purple lad down on my dining room table so I could just look at it, see how shiny it was. I cooked it up in as many ways as my sunbaked brain could conjure: stir-fry, pasta sauce, grilled, broiled.

And come September, my world got a whole lot more purple.

There’s this guy in the SUB Farmers’ Market who sells fresh vegetables; you can find him across from the pharmacy. He sells these cute little eggplants, and they’re only $2! The other day, I bought one of these bad boys and stuck it in my back pocket as I took the elevator up to The Gateway’s offices. I considered bringing it to our staff meeting to show off.

That’s how far gone I am.

I don’t blame my parents for neglecting to force eggplant on me before I was ready. It’s hard to stand for something the world rejects. But now I’m here — a convert to eggplant — and I’m standing tall, purple, rubbery, and proud.

If nothing else, I hope this weird little story of mine can inspire you to look around at the cool, colourful splendour of nature’s offerings. As kraft-dinner cheesy as this is, I’m thrilled by the phenomenological richness of this rock we’re floating on.

The world really is beautiful, y’all. Lustrous, even. And eggplants: they sure as potatoes do add to that lustre.

Jonah Dunch

Jonah Dunch is in his third year of a BA Honours with a major in philosophy and a minor in drama. Aside from his work at The Gateway, Jonah writes, directs, and acts in plays. He eats your clicks for dinner.

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