Baked Japanese Eggplant

With the weather cooling down considerably I wanted a dish to remind us of summer. This does just the trick.

Start by preheating the oven to 375 °C. Next take 4 Japanese eggplants, cut them lengthwise, and arrange them in a baking dish. Brush a little olive oil ( just enough to coat) over each eggplant and sprinkle with sea salt and cumin.  Then clean 8-10 cherry tomatoes, pierce each of them with a knife and add them to the baking dish. Bake until the eggplant is very tender and the tomatoes have burst. This takes around 20-30 minutes.  We like to eat this over some mushroom couscous.

Who ate it?

Husband- Yes. He  doesn’t like Italian eggplants but loves the tender taste of this variety.

Son #1&2- They had a goodbye party for a friend and so got to miss this dish. I’m sure Son #2 was crying a little on the inside:)

Around our house:

I’ve been thinking a lot about one of the seven deadly sins- PRIDE.

I’ve been thinking about it because this week Son #1 came home with a certificate for being respectful. At first, I did feel the swell of pride but then I thought- hold on a minute- he is supposed to be respectful! I mean this is definitely not my son going over and beyond the call of duty. Does he really need a certificate for something that he is supposed to be doing?

I am particularly sensitive to the ugly side of  pride because I have been guilty of it myself and have seen many examples of it in other parents. There is one example that I will never forget.

It was a while ago now, Son #1 was about to turn  3 and Son #2 was just 13 months.  The boys were inspecting some insects at one end of the park and in the sandbox a full-on mommy war was raging.

It culminated with one mom screaming at the other, ” You know my son is only 10 months old but  knows how to share and your 4 year old can’t even share a plastic shovel!!”

And it went on and on. The woman just kept gloating. She went on for so long and at such a volume that I don’t think she even noticed that the other mom looked as if she might have had a stroke.

I wanted to go up to the woman and point out that her 10 month old could share because he didn’t yet know the concept of “mine.”

I also wanted to ask her if there weren’t some things that she too didn’t like sharing. Perhaps a favorite book or blouse  that she knew her best friend had been ogling and yet didn’t feel like lending.

The problem was, that as a mom of two under three, I had already used up my daily allotted energy just getting us to the park. I wasn’t able to come to the other woman’s defense.  All I could do was quietly hope that that mom’s pride was going to come back to bite her one day.

At the same time I realized that I was supposed to have seen this at the park. Through this woman I had learned my lesson. I would never do what she did. Every time I even came close I was confident that the memory of her shrill voice would act as an alarm.

I had forgotten one crucial fact. I am a slow learner.

So I found myself, only 6 months later in the staff room of a language school, giving some poor parent advice on toilet training. I considered this an area of success because Son #1 was using the potty at a year and completely toilet trained by two. I wasn’t screaming and tried to give my advice out gently but that poor mom could no doubt feel my pride ooze out of each of my pores. She was drowning in it.

And then of course, the universe came back to bite me.

I did exactly the same things to toilet train Son #2, but at 18 months he had no interest. He turned 2 and was still in pull-ups. Each month came and went until finally at almost 3 and half he was in underwear.

I had done exactly the same thing with both boys and yet one learned early and the other late.  I had to accept that I had nothing to do with Son #1’s success. The success was his, not mine. I also had very little to do with when Son #2 decided to start wearing underwear.

Okay, I thought, now I get it. This will never happen again.

Fast forward a couple of years and I’ve learned a few things. Mostly I keep quiet about what I think are my boys’ most endearing qualities. I am hesitant to give any real parenting advice. I am humbled by other parents and their children.

Yet I found the universe slapping me down once again. For while I had not said things out loud I had still thought them.

This week I was speaking with a woman about how her daughter had to go to the hospital to be put under and have 6 cavities filled. Out loud I think I said something to the effect that cavities have more to do with saliva than how well you brush your teeth, but on the inside I was thinking,

” My boys have zero cavities!! Zero! Zip! Nada! Must be all that brushing and flossing.”

I may be a non-practicing Lutheran but even I know that a sin is a sin is a sin.

So, of course, the boys had their dental appointments and not one, but both boys have cavities.  Next week as they sit white knuckled and shaking with each vibration of that drill I will be suffering from parental pride’s sister affliction- parental guilt.

But maybe I’ve learned my lesson. We ended up hanging up Son #1’s certificate for respect, but we didn’t frame it. It’s just stuck to his bedroom wall with tape. It will no doubt be replaced by a drawing of aliens invading a castle in less than a week. Just as it should be.

-Mom on a veggie mission


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