Hippie cookbooks are the key to tackling the ever-changing array of vegetables in season here*. Unlike Americaland, where refrigerated trucks allow me to believe that avocados are always in season, things come and go here. (Sadly, fresh peas have gone. And although we keep stubbornly eating our lettuce, pretty soon even I will admit there's not enough mayo in the world to hide the bitterness of this aging crop.)
At home, I stick to a small roster of vegetable superstars. In Zambia, I have no choice but to branch out: what's for sale is what there is. There's no freezer case full of green beans and strawberries, no prewashed bags of spinach. This is why I've been scouring Laurel's Kitchen and the Encyclopedia of Country Living for help dealing with the eggplants currently dominating our market. Tonight: baba ganouj. Tomorrow: ratatouille.
I have to admit, it's pretty cool discovering how easy it is to make something so amazingly good. (I could eat baba ganouj three meals a day. Which I just might until something else takes eggplant's place.)
* Shout out to Lea and Grace, our hippie cookbook benefactors. Thanks!!