Saturday, July 12, 2008

I like my eggplants with basil

I spotted this painting last night in the foyer of a local Presbyterian church. We were there to celebrate the Eve of Bastille Day with The Baguette Quartette, and it was a fantastic show, with lots of accordions, banjos and French.
Unfortunately, the show started late, so that meant we were staring at this painting for far longer than it deserved. Besides the obvious, we wondered what those purple fruits were. They were the exact color of eggplant, but eggplants are nightshades, and grow from bushes. Trees in churches generally stand for the Tree of Knowledge, but there is no mention in the Bible of Eve eating the Eggplant of Good and Evil (which opens up all sorts of culinary speculation-- for example, how would have she prepared it? I would have taken the Thai route, and sauted it with basil and lemongrass). We wondered about the rope-- we couldn't tell if it was embracing or constraining the blue globe. Or perhaps its the umbilici of two twins. The only place I can think of creation twins is the Popul Vuh. Which opens up even more delicious culinary possibilities, like slathering the eggplant in a fine, dark mole sauce.
While medieval Irish-Catholic churches are no strangers to sporting the fuzzy taco over doors and windows, this was neither outside, nor Irish, nor Catholic, nor medieval, nor stone, nor over an opening.
If I had seen this in someone's garage, or in a house, or even a gallery, I wouldn't have given it a second thought. It would have immediately gone into my kitsch-mother-goddess art mental category and then been forgotten. The objects in churches are chosen with profound care and consideration, as an aid to help focus the worshipper's mind towards something holy. I can't help but think whoever hung it up had that goal in mind, but its cheesiness and its inept production utterly fails to uplift this parishioner's spirit. On the contrary, it sends my imagination down entertaining, but hardly edifying trails.


H said...

And ginger and garlic. Everything tastes better with ginger and garlic.

The Nikkster said...

I fell in love with eggplant in China with the dish, "twice fried eggplant" made with tomtatoes, peppers with fried garlic in a soy and sugar sauce. It makes me salivate longingly for Shao Qieza.

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I blog about life and soup, but mostly soup.