A friend and an avid Naturalist introduced me to an intriguing subject “History of Food”.
Captivated to the subject as it is closely intertwined with Nature I now look at my Food, in particular Vegetables and Herbs, with more respect. Each vegetable tells me a story of how they have integrated the World in more ways than we can imagine and the Continents they have traversed.
The Black Beauty , Aubergine , EggPlant or Brinjal is a prehistoric vegetable known to Indian civilization since the dawn of time.
The vegetable Baingan ,( Hindi), EggPlant ( English) ,Solanum melongena ( Scientific Name) belongs to the potato family Solanaceae.
If you see cuisines across the world today it is hard to imagine there was once a time when THE BLACK BEAUTY was unknown to regions beyond the Indian Subcontinent.
Imagine no Moussakas? ( friends in Turkey and Greece please note)
The picture below is of a vegetable farm near the village of Kichan ( do check my blogs WINTER GUEST and A FEAST) , Rajasthan.
The beautiful mauve flowers of the BLACK BEAUTY look like lamps as the sunlight filters through their petals.
They are however carriers of the poisonous alkaloid Solanine , which like modern drugs causes hallucinations as well.
The EggPlant or Black Beauty was therefore also known as the “APPLE OF INSANITY” or MAD APPLE .
Tomatoes & Potatoes both belong to the NIGHT SHADE (Solanaceae) family of the Brinjals and also carry the same alkaloid Solanine.
Hybrids of the Black Beauty or Aubergine can also be White and hence the name EGGPLANT.
Consumption of the BLACK BEAUTY however brings with it a plethora of health benefits like Flawless Skin, Healthy Hair, Weight Reduction and a control on diabetes and high blood pressure.
Do look well at your vegetables, they may have come from a distant and exotic land.