Skin really does matter. Can’t we stop saying it doesn’t. Nana told me to peel the eggplant, slice it thinly, the long way, soak it in salt water, and then pat dry before dipping it in flour and frying it up, nice and slowly. So I did. I did everything the way nana told me…the first time I made it, and it came out perfect. The next time I made nana’s eggplant parm, I was in a rush, and I didn’t have time to peel it , or to soak it, or pat it dry. I’m not sure why I choose dinners like eggplant parmesan when I’m in a rush, I should choose hotdogs, or canned soup, not an elegant Italian cuisine -when I have to run out the door in 30 minutes. Anyhow, the point is, I didn’t peel it and it still came out yummy, sorry nana, maybe the skin doesn’t matter. Maybe an eggplant is still an eggplant no matter with the skin or without it.
The next day while eating the leftovers in perfect solitude, because all children were safe and sound at school, I noticed the deep, purple ribbons of skin around each piece of eggplant didn’t bother me, therefore, maybe I should leave them intact from now on. these are the deep thoughts I am afforded during school hours. I read that most of the nutrition resides in the skin. We are idiots for peeling them off, I thought to myself, throwing them out and boiling the crap out of them, and there go all the vitamins, minerals, enzymes and anything else mildly nutritious.
But as I continued to eat, new information developed, new evidence surfaced. I thought about the farm this eggplant came from. What if it was sprayed with pesticide, and what if all the poisons were on the skin! I read that most sprayed veggies and fruits with skins are safe to eat as long as you take the skin off, because the skin acts as a shield.
So which is better, skin or no skin? Its like every other question in life…It’s relative, meaning: it depends. It depends on the land. It always comes down to the land. Wars, religions, labor unions, taxes, eggplant skins…if the land is good, safe and clean then eat the damn skin, if its corrupted with pesticides and hormones peel it. If only every question were a matter of peel or don’t peel. but we cannot have an absolute answer here. In fact there are few absolutes in life. Because the reality is going to be very different for different people. what if you don’t like the skins, what if your allergic to the skins, what if you have no teeth!
The organic farmer can’t decide what’s right for the guy eating the poisonous eggplant skin if he’s safe on his organic farm, he shouldn’t insist the poor guy eat his eggplant with the skin on because its nutritious, because for the guy living next door to Monsanto , its not. His POV will be to peel it “for the love of his health”, and the organic farmer will say ‘eat it for the Love of man’s health’. is one man wrong? One man’s eggplant skin is different than another’s. in a perfect world vegetable skins are filled with nutrition, in a fallen world they can be toxic. So, which world do we live in? this is the grey , the complications of living in a world with 7 billion varieties of people, with different DNA, and cultures, beliefs and sins. how the hell are we supposed to figure out what’s going into the eggplant skins and if we should peel or eat? we don’t know what’s best for our neighbors -admit it. i mean , many of us don’t even know what’s best for ourselves! I think the best we can do is recognize differences, rather than pretend they don’t exist. its not bad or shameful to say your a man and I’m a woman, and that’s ok that we aren’t the same, maybe you need different things than I do, maybe if we all have the same things somebody is going to get poisoned. you and I don’t have an answer for everyone else, but then again we don’t need answers for everyone, we only need the answer for ourselves. can we please just figure out what is happening within the borders of our own lives and deal with it appropriately without apologies. I’m eating the skin because I live on an organic farm and the skin is nutritious for me, but I get it that you might live beside Monsanto and for you the skin is toxic, is that ok that not everything is equal. I only have to know what’s in my own skin and make my choices based on that. and if you don’t like what’s in your skin than change it, don’t tell me to peel when I should eat! we need to get out of each others space, rather than deciding what’s right for me must be right for everyone. that’s a lie, my friend with asthma would tell you that. and regarding skin. people are always saying skin doesn’t matter, the outside isn’t important. but it is. skin matters- how much money a year do we spend on skin products? our money votes and skin matters trust me. in the privacy of our own homes that’s practically all we care about. maybe we should talk to hollywood if we want to change Americas view on skin. How differently are you treated when your skin is wrinkled and worn and saggy, or burned, or pimply. doesn’t it matter to the person who wears it. Doesn’t it matter to the people seeing it. we say it shouldn’t matter, we should treat everyone the same, yes true we should, we are all eggplants inside the skin, but the reality is we don’t. We say that, we condemn others but we all engage in a variety of behaviors based on skin. Is it bad? we tend to think of the negative side, but what about this: the man who shows regard for the elderly woman walking towards him, he opens the door he helps with her bags, he smiles and turns a gentle tide all because her skin reveals to him that she is elderly, fragile and needy. do we rob mankind of treating somebody different in a positive way because we so fear the negative? do we strip each other of every behavior because some are unacceptable. maybe if we would all stop trying so hard to prove that we are all the same, others would stop trying so hard to prove that we aren’t. Different vegetation need different amounts of light and ph and moisture. If we began to treat all plants alike because they are all plants and its fair to do so, many would die. what are we 5? do we all need the same? looking different reveals our unique needs. someone may ask me, “do you wanted to be treated differently because your a woman?” it doesn’t matter what I want, I am treated differently because I’ m a woman and its not always a negative thing, sometimes yes I do want to be treated differently because I am female, and I’m not, sometimes I don’t and I am. I can’t control everyone else. I can recognize the difference, and be ok with how I treat others and myself. but for crying out loud, I’m not even treated the way I want by my own family members, how can I expect to live in a world of strangers and get what i want, the only one who treats me the way I want is my stinking dog.
we scream about skin color, and yet make every effort throughout our lives to ensure we are treated uniquely, so which is, American has a split personality. society and culture wants to treat everyone the same, and yet, in the privacy of our own home, we do everything possible to change ourselves to prove our uniqueness, tattoos, piercings, degrees, jobs, names, hair, positions, we actually want to make a statement about who we are and how we are set apart from the herd, yet we rob others of that very privilege, and make it a dirty thing. or people want to celebrate their difference in the campaign, but don’t treat me differently? how about we start acting the way we want to be treated now that’s a novel idea?
The eggplant skin taught me so much today. but mostly don’t tell your neighbor what’s good for him, because he might have a different reality than you, and keep a good vegetable peeler on hand for emergencies.
Nana’s Eggplant Parmesan
find 2 nice eggplants not to big
peel and slice lengthwise
soak in water with salt (2 TBS) for an hour
meanwhile: whisk together 3 eggs and 1/2 milk in a bowl
fill a second bowl with 3-4 cups of flour, 1/2 fresh grated parmesan cheese, 1/2 tsp. oregano
take the eggplant slices out of water and pat each one dry nicely
coat each slice first with the egg and milk mixture by dipping it in, then in the flour mixture. Coat the eggplant all over with the flour and shake off excess. Fry them nice and easy in a large skillet with a lot of olive oil (1/2 C.) Remove from pan once getting browned. I can usually cook about 3 at a time. Set them on a brown paper bag or a paper towel to get rid of oil. Once fried. Take your sauce and line the bottom of a baking pan. Then goes in your first layer of eggplant, then a layer of parmesan freshly grated cheese, then another layer of eggplant then parmesan cheese. Mozzarella goes on the top. and bake or broil in the oven until slightly browned and bubbly.
ingredients: Mozzarella cheese, fresh grated Parmesan cheese, 2 eggplants, tomato sauce, milk, egg, flour.