Missing is like an eggplant

  In the summer of 1986, I transferred from the kindergarten of the Great Buddha Temple to the kindergarten of the Ministry of Economics and Trade, saying goodbye to my daily carrot and potato life. At that time, there were not many leafy vegetables available in Beijing. Cheap tuber vegetables flooded the vegetable market and ordinary people’s homes. The people in Beijing called leafy vegetables fine vegetables, which was enough to show the vulgarity of the people’s diet.
  I probably transferred to this kindergarten with eggplant. I remember that the three meals that greeted me after school started were eggplant noodles, fried eggplant with green peppers, and eggplant stewed potatoes. A girl with freckles stood up and said bluntly: “The eggplants we eat are all fried.” This sentence taught her the bitterness of fighting against her superiors. When sharing the meal, the teacher deliberately added more to her bowl. Contained a few dusty eggplants.
  This move immediately triggered the “herding effect” of all children. When we were having dinner, we lined up silently, walking forward as if wearing fetters, like the citizens of Sarajevo in the old movies, raising our heads slightly and making a righteous and awe-inspiring expression. When it was my turn, the air seemed to be trembling, I squinted my small eyes, trying to hide the panic, then my arm sank, walked a few steps, opened my eyes to see, it’s over, two spoonfuls full, no oil Xing’er’s roasted eggplant and carrots stewed in water are covered on yellow rice.
  From today’s point of view, roasted eggplant is not too unpalatable, because the complementary food is rich enough to conceal the congenital choking taste of this ingredient. Steaming, frying, boiling, and stewing are all things. But in the age of limited consumption of oil and purchase of sugar by ticket, I expected the canteen to make delicious eggplants. It was like fishing for the moon in the sky, picking stars in the sky, long scales on cows, long horns on horses, and pumpkins on gourd vines. Too realistic.
  Just eat the vegetable soup and barely finish eating the white rice. There are about five or six diehards like me left. The children are far away from each other and there is no communication. Everyone is left with two hills. The teacher found the girls who performed well in the class, and talked about the nutritional value of vegetables to us backwards. When a good student is poor, she becomes a repeater, “Eggplant and carrots are as nutritious as small ginseng”, so repeatedly, like a ghost beating my eardrum, swearing to treat good-looking women and ginseng. No good feelings.
  The pour meal is exchanged for a bitter cry. When it was time to take a nap, the class was crying. The teacher reluctantly picked up our rice bowls one by one and buckled them into the plastic buckets, while tapping the spoon on the bottom of the bowl. Saying to herself: “You don’t eat this yourself. Don’t say we are full here when family members come to pick it up at night.” After speaking, Aunt Li took her rice bowl with meat foam and went out to wash the dishes. went.
  After many inquiries, we learned the “understanding” of the kitchen. The dishes in the whole courtyard were made by a master named Yu and two apprentices. Master Yu looks very kind, always standing at the corner of the garden holding cigarettes, seeing us running around, occasionally grabbing one or two, patting his head, remembering that when he stretched his hand over, it smelled like smoke oil. , By the way, button up our boys’ shirts, saying that they should not be dressed like ruffians.
  Master Yu’s son later also transferred to school. Since then, a fat-eared child has been added to the class. We all call him “Yumudunzi”. After Dunzi enrolled in school, the quality of the food has not improved much. Every day at noon, we will watch Dunzi gobble up the food in the bowl, and catch a chicken nuggets or hairtail during the New Year’s holidays, and we will also stretch out Thumbs up, express gratitude to Dunzi.
  Dongjiaominxiang Primary School is next to our kindergarten. After graduating from the big class, Dunzi went to school with us. Not long after, Master Yu followed. Ten yuan a month and a few catties of food coupons are exchanged for the permanent residence of the “Yujia Grilled Eggplant” on the menu. The green and astringent taste of eggplant always follows us. The children complain repeatedly, and the teachers still ignore it.
  The turning point was probably in 1993. After the “News Broadcast” announced the cancellation of food stamps in Beijing, the food in the cafeteria finally changed. The eggplants were gone, and the braised pork and pork buns every other day gave us motivation to go to school. “Dunzi”, the nickname that has plagued classmates all the year round is no longer mentioned. After 2000, I heard the news that he went to a vocational high school and later became the head chef of Cantonese cuisine in a large restaurant. Presumably the skill of making eggplant can surpass his father.
  Like a human face, eggplants are also long and round. Before the 1990s, most people in Beijing ate round eggplants. Every summer vacation, as long as my grandpa walks into the kitchen, I know that I will probably eat eggplant. He peeled the skin very lightly. He probably didn’t want to waste a bit of eggplant meat. The peeled eggplant was still wrapped in a green layer; when he opened the steamer, the eggplant was completely unrecognizable, and the eggplant and seeds seemed to be held tighter. Stir it with chopsticks, and then a scent of fragrance overflows out of the pot; the sesame sauce is thick and the raw garlic is already broken. It is wrapped in coriander, mixed with sesame oil and poured into a bowl and merged with the eggplant; before serving, the eggplant should enter The refrigerator completes the final “cooking”, calming down for more than an hour, allowing it to fully combine with all the aromas to form a new flavor… It seems that only on this day of eating eggplant can grandma be free from the kitchen.
  The old man has been simple and accustomed all his life. The meals are very simple, such as stir-fried pork slices, steamed rice and eggplant puree and egg soup. Grandpa poured half a glass of white wine and finally took a seat. Every time he picked up the eggplant he made, he seemed to get a sense of satisfaction. The summer night in the north used to be quiet. The wooden chopsticks and bowls of the three people occasionally knocked, accompanied by the sound of cicadas outside the window, which is very nostalgic.
  In 2013, I ate eggplant with peppered preserved eggs in a restaurant called Laoyouji. The pungent taste overturned all my impressions of eggplant. The greasy, red and spicy eggplant is eaten in the mouth, giving people a feeling of wanting to stop, if you can mix it with a bowl of mushroom oil and ham rice, it really makes people unable to stop until the tongue is so spicy that you lose the feeling.
  Friends of Friends is located in a residential area of ​​Sanyuan West Bridge. It was rebuilt from a one-bedroom apartment. The price of the dishes is not expensive, so they queue up all year round. I remember that there was a time when the cook was away, and they stopped selling stir-fried dishes. I used to eat this spicy preserved egg to pound the eggplant, and I managed to escape the sanctions list.
  After eating such a spicy eggplant, it was probably under a crossing bridge on the Zizhu Bridge. A boy who looks very social, he only goes out of the stall every 11 o’clock, his iron plate is stained with a thick layer of grease, and it does not look very clean. He roasts eggplants very slowly, which is said to allow the long eggplants to better absorb vegetable oil and perhaps the “flavors” on the iron plate. The young man was quite proud of the sauce he made. He said that only millet was spicy in the sauce, but it was made with three methods: crushed chili, roasted chili and chili oil, mixed with garlic and brushed on the eggplant. Form a unique flavor.
  Nowadays, the kindergarten has changed its name. Chef Yu and Xiaochu are disconnected. Grandparents and grandpa have gone to heaven. Qiu Yunping and Friends are gone. All the wild vendors who make grilled eggplants have changed their jobs. Some make eggplants. The small restaurants for food and noodles were also unable to carry during the epidemic and closed down. I’m afraid of trouble, so I can’t make delicious eggplant dishes, so I can only use a little miss of the past, think about the taste of eggplant, and think about the era that I can’t go back to.

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