Thursday we picked the most gorgeous fairy tale eggplant. The kindergartners under Ms. Tuck and Ms. McAlee’s care were so excited to see this variegated purple fruit hanging from Walker Jones’ short bushy plants. Purple flowers and dark green leaves framing the fruit would make anyone turn their head. As one of our most enthusiastic young ladies said, “The purple flowers are beautiful. The purple eggplants are beautiful. And they are called fairy tale eggplants and I love fairy tales.”
The score amounted to five pounds of eggplant that we took home and roasted. And after cutting into fresh off the vine eggplant there is really no substitute–the seeds were as bright colored as the flesh. We roasted the fruit in a good olive oil, salt and pepper and a thinly sliced onion. Then we let it cool till the next morning. I always find it best to let something you are going to serve cold sit overnight if you can. That way flavors have time to jell. Eggplant chilled properly develops an almost creamy gelatinous texture. Friday morning we mixed the eggplant with fresh basil and sandwiched it inside fresh baked cornbread.
We are proud to report that every one of those Kindergartners at least tasted the eggplant. At the same time–to no one’s surprise–eggplant is not most five year old’s favorite. Which means that our snack this afternoon could be perceived as not a success. Even if there were brave students who admitted to liking eggplant.
The larger point here for us is to not succumb to ‘immediate success thinking’. And in this way we see a correlation between farming, teaching and cooking.’ Trust that the experiences of touching the heat from compost, tasting both raw mint and a tea brewed from mint, caring for ‘food plants’ including eggplant, chasing lady bugs and listening to each other stretch us all, both teachers and students.