…amidst modern romance.
I have been (mostly) happily single for a few years, enjoying being the independent, master-of-my-own-universe kind of gal. Despite earnest encouragement from friends who insisted that ‘everyone is doing it’ or ‘that’s how my sister/brother/best friend met their husband/wife/partner’, I was strongly resistant to the idea of using apps to meet a potential boyfriend. Call me old-fashioned, but nothing beats human interaction, body language and eye contact (no, just me?)
Eventually, curiosity got the better of me and I openly approached the idea. I tried a couple of different sites off-and-on over the course of a couple of years, spending time swiping left and right, messaging and sometimes actually going on dates with guys who seemed okay. Here’s where I emphasise the OKAY part. Not to say it was awful all of the time, but honestly I was underwhelmed by the experience. I feel it wouldn’t be over the top to make a t-shirt that says ‘I signed up to [insert dating app name here] and all I got was a serious lack of communication, a couple of drunken chauvinists and in one case, someone who thought it would be cute to beg me to sleep with him’. Ok, so maybe not a t-shirt, more of a poster. Or a billboard…
Not surprisingly, I no longer have an online dating profile (sorry fellas!) because I would like to meet my potential boyfriend/partner/husband in real life from the beginning. The decision to delete myself from the online dating scene was cemented after I read Modern Romance – An Investigation authored by Aziz Ansari (of Parks & Recreation and Master of None fame). All of a sudden, everything started to make sense – the way we communicate, date and interact with one another through technology is so far removed from how we actually do it face-to-face. And I’m not just talking online dating apps but on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. The desire for a fast connection with others tends to result in disconnection from real life and the physical, flesh-and-blood people around us.
Most telling for me was that the stories, experiences and accumulated data Aziz and his co-author & social scientist Eric Klinenberg uncover is frighteningly accurate to my own experiences. Although the book was published a year ago, I like to think they would both agree that this method of ‘modern romance and so-called dating’ could be likened to playing PokemonGo – some people are just trying to #CatchThemAll.
So, in celebration of being abundantly single I am sharing one of my favourite recipes for baba ghanoush – the perfect partner (see what I did there?) to any meal – poached eggs at breakfast, an antipasto platter at lunch or dolloped on a kale salad with chicken for dinner.
Nothing beats the rich smokey flavour and the garlicky goodness of this Lebanese staple – and let’s face it, if you don’t have a partner, you don’t have to worry about garlic breath! It’s a win-win.
Until next time,
Smokey Baba Ghanoush
3 medium eggplants/aubergines
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tbsp tahini
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp sumac
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1-2 lemons
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Cut eggplants in half lengthways, scoring the flesh to create a criss-cross pattern (don’t cut through to the skin!) Coat the eggplants halves using half of the oil, making sure you cover the flesh as well as the skins.
Place the 6 halves of eggplant onto a baking tray, flesh facing up, and bake for 45 minutes until the flesh is soft. Once cooked, remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. To really increase the smokiness, use tongs to hold the eggplant halves (one at a time) over a flame to blacken the skins being careful not to burn them. Alternately, you can choose to peel the skins away but I quite like using the whole eggplant for more texture.
In a food processor (or blender), place the garlic, tahini, spices, eggplant, lemon juice and the rest of the olive oil. Blend until well combined, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.
NOTE: you can also roast the unpeeled garlic cloves with the eggplant for a sweeter, more subtle garlic flavour. YUM!!