I walk into the quiet kitchen after work and the scent of the cucumber salad is fresh and life-giving. I wonder when I last smelt cucumber, and am transported to my Grandmother’s kitchen garden where as children we ate cucumbers fresh off the vine. My heart is sad that refrigeration robs us of the scent of tomatoes and cucumbers and sweet potatoes.
Nigel Slater says that boiling and steaming do nothing for aubergines. In my heart I love that Nigel is unashamedly English in his food, without artifice or pretense. But also comes gratefulness for the dishes from India and Asia and even Italy that steam eggplants or boil them in soupy or saucy dishes. While Nigel limits eggplants, my heart sings with joy at the incredible diversity that eggplants bring to the table. Baked, grilled, steamed, boiled, sauteed, deep fried, stewed, this polished purple gleaming parcel of flavours has my heart.
Each time I slice an eggplant open I wonder which aromas will emerge this time – will it be the scent of Lebanon, Israel, Turkey, Iran, India, China, Korea, Japan, Italy, Afghanistan, France or any of the cuisines inbetween? Eggplants will shine proudly on the kitchen benchtop as a symbol of multiculturalism.