Pretty much common knowledge I think, something that we here in America learn at an early age through the boob tube. Hmmm, even the colloquial term we use for our babysitter, our main source for news and entertainment, boob tube, is about human sex. Or perhaps human sexuality. We introduce it to our population, implant into the minds of our youth from a very early age the concept of sex and sexuality, and sad to say, how to profit from it. Both financially and socially. And even sadder to say, those that don't fit the concept broadcast to us via satellite and over the airwaves of the perfect sexuality, ie. those like me, that are a bit uglier, a bit fatter, and a bit more odd; are to have a life not to be confused with those in sitcoms with perfect hair and complexions, and even more perfect proportions. Some of us, me in particular, accept our lives and the imperfections we possess and learn to utilize life's greatest achievements to further our own existences. As I have, I have learned to utilize the world of sex. I want to let you have some of my hard won knowledge.
When I taught classes back at my store in Austin, one of the things I would ask every class was, "Do you know how to pick a sweet onion?" Of course someone would always pipe up and say they should go to the bin marked sweet onions. If they didn't, I would of course mention that. The thing is, even there, the differences in sugar content are dramatic, and it only takes a bit of knowledge to find the ones that are the sweetest. And, just like the title of this blather, it's all about sex. As is the purpose of all life, onions are predisposed to reproduce. To do that, the lowly onion starts its life by growing first the green tops that actually make the food to produce the onion bulb. The bulb is a storage vessel that serves to contain the nutrients necessary to sustain the plant while it undergoes the process of sex, and the subsequent nurturing of the offspring. Yes, it's the flowering and seed production. Sex, and child rearing. Something we need to emphasis in schools to teens, one comes with the other. Anyway, the onion bulb itself grows and makes those cool layers and as it does so, it expands outward. It makes an onion that is actually sort of more disc like rather than roundish or globular. Flatter. This is the time when the onion is putting the most effort into the making of sugars, which are stored in the onion bulb. Then, at some predetermined time that is genetically encoded into the onion DNA matrix (or as my holy roller brother says, god determined at creation) the onion then goes into sex mode. For an onion, there is no need for chocolates or music from Steven Tyler, it just knows that it needs to use all that stored sugar to push itself into developing the sole purpose of what it thinks its existence is and it begins to elongate and become less disk shaped, and more globular. All to the point where if you keep onions long enough, just before they sprout, they will be almost football shaped. And with this knowledge, we can in fact determine just by looking at them, which will be sweetest. Flatter means sweeter, rounder means nastier. Hmm, sort of like the cheerleaders at my high school.
When I first learned about eggplant, it was while interning at the French restaurant in east Phoenix. Interning is a stretch, slave is more of an appropriate term. But I digress, there we used eggplants to make little individual casseroles, a little something called ratatouille. My slave master told me to use the male eggplants and not the female ones for the slices, and for the actual hash filling, to chop up the female ones. If you don't know what ratatouille is, I will tell you what our version was. We took courgettes and eggplant and sliced them thinly, placed them in a well buttered casserole dish in a pleasing spiral design, then filled the dish with a hash mixture of onions, eggplant, tomatoes, herbs and wine. Then the dish was baked until crusty and inverted onto a plate to serve. It is a pretty tasty dish, but the sublime expression of the food critic from the animated movie of the same name is a bit much I think. Anyway, my first attempt to make the dish I was unable to determine which were males and which were females. With tremendous derision I was informed that little boy eggplants possessed a knob on the bottom and little girl eggplants had an indentation. I was also told that was why I would never get married and have children, both of course were found to be in error. However, it is in fact true that male eggplants have fewer seeds than females. It isn't really logical because eggplants are the fruits and they are in fact androgynous, or rather hermaphroditic. That is, having both male and female flower parts. But it seems that the reality is that after fertilization, they do in fact specialize and that there is a difference in the chromosomal makeup of the eggplant fruits. Like humans.
Now we come to the big one, bell peppers. There is a lot of confusion about bell peppers and why some have three lobes, and some have four lobes. Look on the Internet and there are sites that will tell you that three lobed are male, and better for eating, four lobed are female, and better for cooking. Criminy, as I write that I can't help but think how fifties that statement is. But the truth is that it is all a bunch of hooey, there is no taste or differences in the number of seeds between them. That's just how they are. Okay, that might be an explanation my brother would seize on to further the god is all things to all people even plants concept. Me, it only means that it's not REALLY all about sex after all. My mind has just been molded into that thought process by a youth growing up in America.
Well, and Playboy helped a lot back in the day.