Sunday, July 6, 2014

Uncle Eggplant

Uncle Eggplant, the home of the Hoppy Bug, is doing well.  There's an argument that an Aubergine plant will produce nine good fruits.  But the Aubergine as an unabashed wild plant was a tropical perennial Nightshade, until the Dravidians of the Indian Subcontinent decided to tinker with it, so who knows. Italian's call it a "Melanzana" which is a word I am told that could be interpreted as "Insane Apple." From there it migrated to the British Islands where it was briefly called a "Mad Apple" and how it ever grew to fruit in the British Islands, I have no idea, because Eggplant I know likes high heat. Then off to the Caribbees, where the Italian word for Eggplant was preserved in the word "Melongene." Which is kind of a neat word for an Eggplant, because it can look kind of like a Mellon gone shiny.

But how do you go from "Melongene" to "Aubergine." Well the Melongene reached Western Europe from the East Indies via the Arabs of  the Eastern Mediterranean and the same plant as Aubergine reached Western Europe via the Arabs from the Western Mediterranean. However, when the Pope gave Portugal the Eastern half of the known universe, the Portuguese decided they were going to call the Eggplant, "Brinjal." And "Brinjal" is one of the many dozens of names the Dravidian languages of Southern India have given to their Eggplant.  Whatever you want to call it, it's a species of Nightshade, which means it is related to the Tomato and to the Potato. And that, in and of itself is reason enough to open the Book of Psalms when in the presence of an Eggplant.

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