My daughter hates eggplant.
We tried our best efforts but she yells “yuck” any time she tries it.
Her father is vegetarian and feel it is unbelievable anyone cannot be made to like the foods fit for the gods.
Her mother however decided that she’ll like it when she grows up. “I hated eggplants when I was little,” she reminisced, “but by the time I went to school in Beijing, I loved eggplant.”
I however am not of the same optimistic mind. I am slightly aware of our shared history. The daughter’s mother grew up in a very dynamic time and place. The life-quality inequality in China was rapidly ascending from worse to third-worldly. When she had eggplant as a child in the 80’s, the 1980’s, the country was still short on (cooking) oil, sugar, and many other spices. The food and other basic necessities were rationed: her family, my family, everyone were issued ration tickets which in conjunction with money is the only means citizen can secure rice, oil, meat and cloth, etc.
When her mother ate eggplant for the first time, it was probably boiled. Boiled eggplant can’t be that good. (Steamed taste good though, at least it does to me)
In the 1990’s, her mom did well on China’s standardized entrance exams, and went to Beijing to study. The city of Beijing, the most advanced city of China, due to its proximity to the that totalitarian government that we Americans love to complain about, enjoys very much a different level of quality of life. So even in college cafeterias, their eggplant were cooked with oil and spices. And oil, my friends, is the one thing that makes eggplants Devine to eat.
Fast forward to the 20’s, the 2020’s, we soak our eggplants in organic EVOO, even at her first tasting. But she will never experience this kind of dramatic enhancement of taste because her first taste is already as best as it gets.
I am somewhat saddened that my kids do not like eggplant as I do. One would have expected something as basic as eating tastes to have inherited similarities between parents and children. What else didn’t they inherit from me? I hope more of the bad than the good…
We can be optimistic that technology can improve the taste of eggplants in the future, perhaps some exotic alien spice will elevate it even further. But for now, it seems that our old ideas and solutions will probably not be enough for our descendants. What satisfies us will not satisfy them. What will happen to our world when they take over? One cannot help but wonder if it is too late to invest in “ban eggplant” signs for the eventual political upheaval. “