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jdporter (36)

Journal of jdporter (36)

Friday June 21, 2002
03:16 PM

Eggplant rulz

[ #5848 ]

I've decided that eggplant is about the yummiest thing in the whole wide world. I could eat it every day. Jen sorta got me started on it, with this Persian stew (khoresh-e bademjan), but other forms are good too. Like eggplant parmesan. And bengan bharta. And baba ganoush. And imam bayildi.


(Any other names for it?)

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  • I love Eggplant also. In fact, Bengan Bharta is probably my favorite dish. I'm going to have some tonight!

    Another disk that I enjoy that has Eggplant in it is Moussaka. I always thought that Moussaka was Greek. I'm told that it was originally Turkish, but that the Greeks, Turks, Egyptians and others make regional variations.

    I guess I've only had Greek Moussaka. I can't say that I've ever been to a Turkish Restaurant, really. Been to some places that had "Middle Eastern Cuisine", which I assumed was

    • Hmm. I dunno. I've heard it said that Turkish cuisine is a melange of those from surrounding areas; and that things that it has in common with Greek cuisine are therefore probably essentially Greek in origin. That's not to say that Turkish food isn't highly refined and excellent.

      Have you ever had imam bayildi? It is, without any doubt, a true Turkish disk (as will become apparent when you learn the meaning of the name). I've had it at a Greek restaurant; it was o.k., but not spectacular. Maybe the Gree
  • Don't forget melanzana (from mala insana, "mad apple").
    • On second look, I shouldn't have said "from". It appears that mala insana is a corruption (like sparrowgrass for asparagus), not an origin, and melanzana is related to all the other words you list (except eggplant), with an m in place of b (which happens in Bombay/Mumbai and Burma/Myanmar also). They're all related to Sanskrit vatin-gana, some through Arabic badhinjan (and aubergine has the Arabic article al in front).
      • Thanks for the interesting info!

        I've also run across the word "melijanes" in French text, where they cite it as the Greek word for eggplant. (Don't have Greek-English dictionary handy...)

        Also, the (a) Spanish word for it is "berenjena", which is clearly cognative of the other forms... But what strikes me a funny is that it looks so similar to "berenj", the Persian word for rice.

        Which makes me think of another Spanish/Persian connection:

                narenj = naranja (sweet orange)

        • English orange is related to naranja too. It's one of those cases where people get confused about whether there's an n at the end of the indefinite article or at the beginning of the following word (see etymologies of umpire, apron, adder, and others).

          But it this case it looks like the disappearance of n happened in French before English borrowed the word. Something like: une narange becomes une arange becomes une orange (possibly because people connected it with or "gold").
          • Clearly.

            Another one I find kind of interesting is "esfenaj", Persian for "spinach". (I should point out that "j" in transliterated Persian is pronounced as in English.) However, in this case I believe that the word was imported directly from English, in modern times. Which is bizarre, since, according to Webster:
                < MFr. "espinach"
                < (? via ML "spinachia") OSp. "espinaca"
                < Ar. "ispanakh"
                < Per. "aspanakh"

            I tend
    • Yeah. I was doing up some eggplant on the grill last night, and, looking for something interesting to do with it, broke out Jeff Smith's Three Ancient Cuisines... He states rather blithely that the origin is mela insana, "bad apple", which supposedly ties in with the ancient (western) belief that the vegetable is poisonous.

      We know, of course, that that derivation is spurious.

      But it does lead to a question of what insana means. Does it mean mad or bad? (bad, in this case, not having its moral connotati
      • Of course sanitarium/sanitorium sometimes refers to institutions dealing with mental rather than physical health also, so it parallels the different meanings of insana.
  • qie2 (that two is a tone marking ;) (pronounced chee-eh while moving your pitch from middle to high)

    Interestly, tomatoes are called fan1 qie2, which literally means "barbarian eggplant"!