Take our garden, for example. I have found myself bringing armloads of eggplant and cucumbers into the kitchen while feeling completely disappointed with our garden's yield. We have more squash than we can eat, but the tomatoes have yet to turn red. Having jalapenos but no ripe tomatoes seems like a failure.
But look at this harvest from just one evening in the garden! This is far from gardening failure!
My son is going through an unfortunate phase; a phase marked by an extreme increase in want. We cannot go into a store without him finding something he desperately wants. And when I say no, he is extremely disappointed. Like, my life is over disappointed. His funk becomes everyone's funk, to the point that my daughter wants to buy him what he wants just to cheer him up. Cheer all of us up, really.
This phase of his bothers me because:
1. I wish I had the resources to buy my children more of their wants.
2. I wish my children wanted less.
3. I can't stand it when my children ask for stuff.4. I hate saying no.
We are a family of four living well on one income, and one of the reasons we live well is because many of our wants go unfulfilled. All of our needs are met, and on occasion, a few of our wants are satisfied. Unfortunately, my son's unfulfilled wants remind me of my unfulfilled wants.
Want can be a driving force, a motivator, but want can also be a negative emotion. Sometimes, deciding to forgo my wants, or saying no to my children's wants, makes me feel poor. Poor, not as in the state of our finances, but as in a negative emotion, like disappointment. It is a state of mind, and hopefully, like my son's current want-fest, just a phase.
When we left a sporting goods store yesterday without the goggles my son begged for, I had to remind him of the boogie board he got the day before, and the bag of Legos he got a few days before that. And that's when it hit me - he's spoiled. He's got an armload of zucchini, and he's whining about green tomatoes. There's an important lesson to harvest here. Perhaps we've picked too many wants lately, and we need give the garden a break.
Typically, our tomatoes ripen before our eggplant, but not this year. We've been blessed with dozens of slender, tender Japanese eggplants. I cubed and roasted some recently with the intention of making Macedonian salad, sans quinoa, but the roasted eggplant was so good, we ate it before it became part of a salad. I call the dish Eggplant Home Fries because the cubed, roasted eggplant reminds me of the potato home fries at our favorite breakfast diner, Katrina's.
Eggplant Home Fries
6 or 7 young Japanese eggplants (about 8 inches long or so)
2 to 3 tablespoons coconut oil (yes, coconut oil makes all the difference in flavor here)
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cube the eggplant into small pieces, 1/2 inch or smaller. Coat well with coconut oil. Go ahead, use your hands. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread on a greased cookie sheet (just use your oily hands to grease the sheet). Bake until eggplant starts to get crispy, about 50 minutes, maybe a little longer, maybe not quite as long. Check the eggplant after about 40 minutes or so, and stir it occasionally towards the end as the fries around the edge tend to brown faster. Best served piping hot.
I should also add that my kids won't try these, which is great for George and me - more for us! A few of you have mentioned the difficulty of transitioning kids to a new way of eating. It ain't easy. Every night when I bring dinner to the table, I tell myself: you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. More on kids and food later, but for now I can tell you, just keep on leading.