I felt like writing something, but I didn’t really have an idea to springboard off of. I asked Twitter and Facebook for a topic, and here we are. I do not guarantee factual accuracy in these provided topic posts, nor do I guarantee any semblance of reason or sense. Sorry.

From Austin, I will write something about eggplants.

Few people are aware, but the eggplant (Solanum melongena) is actually a member of the Solanaceae family of flowering plants, also known as nightshades. Don’t let the name alarm you, however; while it may be a part of the nightshade family, it is not closely enough related to Atropa belladonna (commonly known as Deadly Nightshade) to have any harmful effects other than the truly terrible taste and texture of its fruit, also called “eggplant.”

Fewer people are aware that the eggplant is technically classified as a berry, and fewer yet are aware that the bitterness of the eggplant’s seeds are due to its high levels of nicotinoid alkaloids. If that sounds like something you’d find in a cigarette, that’s because the eggplant is a close cousin of Nicotiana tabacum, also known as “tobacco.” So we have eggplant, the flowering plant that produces a berry of the same name, which is related to Deadly Nightshade and tobacco. Ready for some new facts? Eggplant is also related to potatoes, chili peppers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and a variety of different berries.

The most common culinary uses of the eggplant include use in the French ratatouille, the Italian parmigiana di melanzane (eggplant parmesan), and the Iranian kashk e-bademjan (loosely translated to eggplant gruel). The eggplant berry, like humans, is made up mostly of water. When preparing it for cooking, some recommended that, also like humans, you slice or cube and salt for a couple of hours before actually cooking, followed by a rinse and pat dry.

Lastly, I hate the smell of cooking eggplants. I loved my grandmother, but she had a habit of cooking eggplant, making the whole house reek of it and giving me a terrible headache.