If I can cook it, you can cook it And I'll travel the world to bring it back home to you.

Eggplant Parmigiano made for the Yogic Vegan’s visit

              I’m all for eating more vegetables and I’m all for spreading the word that vegetarian cooking can add a lot to your kitchen repertoire. But I was thrown for quite a loop when our dear friend, the doctor, informed us that she was now a Yogic Vegan. Vegans, in case you have never had the pleasure, are a tough lot to cook for. They not only eschew any kind of meat, poultry, or fish, they also restrict themselves to not eating any animal products at all. I mean any. The ramifications? Eggs? Animal Product. Cheese? Animal Product. But layer on Yogic to the vegan equation and here’s what else you can add to (or actually subtract from) your shopping list: Gelatin, rennet, garlic, onions, and mushrooms. I must admit I have no reasonable difficulty cooking without gelatin or rennet but the rest of the list gave me pause. However, there seemed to be a loophole because I’d very recently seen the good doctor devour a piece of ice cream cake at her child’s birthday party. Chink, chink. I contacted her and got a funny message back: “Oh sh*t”, she wrote. “ I just meant a kind of “quiet” vegan thing- and without the internet you would never have known– nor would I have known, that there was actually such a thing. Bottom line: I am flexible and will eat anything other than a cow…….:). You can imagine my relief as I zeroed in on Eggplant Parmigiano as the centerpiece of an otherwise Vegetarian, though not vegan, meal.

              Eggplant Parmigiano is one of the great vegetable courses of Italy, a country where meat for the masses wasn’t available on a daily basis until quite recently. Even now the “Mediterranean” diet doesn’t include nearly the volume of meat that the standard American diet does. The beautiful dish is quite labor intensive and time-consuming. And eggplant itself has to be coddled and cajoled into losing its somewhat bitter reputation. But the result is really a wonderfully rich and satisfying dish. It’s also something I think it makes sense to make in quantity since its flavor develops nicely when left over, it freezes well if properly stored and it’s one of those dishes that doesn’t take twice as long when you make twice as much. This recipe makes 12 servings.



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