• Rachel

I do not like aubergines anymore

..…and no, that is not a euphemism. I am referring to the OG aubergine, the Solanum melongena, the eggplant, the purple, squishy, bulbous vegetable that is actually botanically a fruit, according to the gospel of Wikipedia.

Fun, versatile, cheap, and often found without needless plastic packaging; I used to frequently pop one into my shopping basket (still not a euphemism, stop your dirty mind). But, this evening, I made a decision that I won’t be doing this again anytime soon. I didn’t get into a fight with one, or suddenly break out in hives. I was just painfully reminded of a particular foible of the woman upstairs, one which I do not wish to tolerate any more.

My Dad cooked a lovely veggie curry for dinner. My Dad makes the best curries. Plenty of heat and spice and everything nice. It’s pretty remarkable that one of my Dad’s veggie curries is now one of my “safe” meals. Before my recent spell in hospital, I needed a week’s notice and a huge amount of overthinking to incorporate this meal into the woman upstairs’ rigid routines. It’s good to see measurable progress, particularly when I feel despairing about how far there still is to go.

You can chuck pretty much any vegetables in a curry. There isn’t a set protocol: anything goes. This particular evening, we had a lovely mix of beans, pumpkin, onions, peppers…and aubergine. I was looking forward to it. Though, when I put a chunk in my mouth, and almost immediately tasted what I can only describe as the sponginess of anorexic misery. You see, for the woman upstairs, the aubergine is an incredibly favourable vegetable. It provides a high volume for very few calories. It’s perfect for bulking out many a dish to make it look and feel more substantial than it actually is. This is something the woman upstairs had me do religiously.

Aubergine featured very little in chef Robbie’s cooking in the Priory hospital. (Though, oddly, there seemed to be beetroot in or with almost everything?) For three or so months I’ve not really had to encounter, nor think, nor attach any sort of significance to the thing. There were plenty of other things on my mind. This curry was my first post-admission encounter with mister S. melongena, and unfortunately, it wasn’t a pleasant one. Unexpectedly, I was taken back to that mental place of desperation, entrapment, and agony that anorexia put me through for so long. The sheer pain of my body crying out for nourishment and me fobbing it off with some glorified purple sponge, and still wondering why I didn’t feel any physically better after having a meal.

So, I’ve decided to break up with the humble aubergine. Bless, it’s not its fault really. It’s a classic “it’s not you it's me” kind of sitch. Aubergines are not themselves the problem, they just happen to have been caught up in this unfortunate ordeal of mine. But, moving onwards towards better things, for me means saying goodbye to them in all forms, for now. It’s time to explore and feast upon some different opportunities. And no, that is again, not a euphemism. I am still a heterosexual.


“It’s hard to be clear about who you are when you are carrying around a bunch of baggage from the past. I’ve learned to let go and move more quickly into the next place.”

Angelina Jolie

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