Spicy Honey Aubergines! And that’s our official theme song for the finale of the Ugliest Gourmet blogging contest. Huzzah to The Blog That Ate Manhattan for creating what this blog’s readers have deemed the ugliest delicious food of the bunch. All told, the results were nail-bitingly close to a four-way tie, with three votes each for the Gnocchi, Corned Beef and Tomato Pie, Kitty Box Cake and Maraq Molokheyia bil Dajaj. Some of these recipes sound so good I still want to make them sometime anyway.
You know, it’s kind of funny how the entire thing boomeranged right back to where it all began: With eggplant. The deadliest-looking of all the nightshade plants. (Which makes me wonder — if tomatoes had to be cooked in order to be eaten, and didn’t retain their bright red but instead turned dull gray-brown, would we be seeing it here instead of its cousin, the eggplant?)
I have to admit I’m not too nervous about presenting this dish on the Thanksgiving spread tomorrow. Not only do I like eggplant but anything adapted from Claudia Roden‘s capable vision I’m sure won’t disappoint. That’ll serve up nicely alongside my not-yet-solidified sides of brussels sprouts with shitake mushrooms and ginger, roasted squash ragout, maybe beet and orange salad and four or so pies.
I do wish to part with a final word: In keeping with this blog’s mission of replacing, or at least supplementing, some aspect of my consumption with my own handiwork, I’m celebrating Buy Nothing Day this Friday. It’ll give me more time to simply enjoy the holidays with my family and friends — including my eighty-eight-year-old last grandfather/grandparent standing — rather than worry about what stuff they might want. Plus, if there’s any day of the year I absolutely won’t need to grocery shop, it’s the day after Thanksgiving, when my family can’t cram all the leftovers into the fridge. So until then, happy holidays. Here’s to home cooking.