During the agony and ecstasy of fall when harried schedules and responsibilities seek to spoil the storehouses of tranquility from summer, do not despair for that eggplant you are eyeing at the market is asking you to slow down. I am learning to never say no to its invitation. You’ll need to hold it first and give thanks for its marvelous beauty, then peel it, slice it, flour it, dip it, bread it, and yes, fry it. The transfiguration of the aubergine from humbleness to majesty is not an easy endeavor, but there are few other dishes where the reward is greater. Layered in slow-cooked sauce and dry aged cheese and mozzarella, its comfort will keep and give you the most satisfying sandwich for lunch the next day. We bake ours in Eric’s grandmother’s pan who immigrated from Italy as Domenica and then changed her name to Emily. You never want it to end. But then it does and you dream of the next weekend when the ritual is repeated.
This is what afternoons look like in our kitchen lately:
These same evenings we cross a few continental countries and read All Things Bright and Beautiful together. It feels like the English literary equivalence to Eggplant Parmesan. It is the perfect lullaby before bed filled with humor and charm and beautiful sentences. These are the days I want to remember. Days filled with good books and eggplants. A life worth savoring.