It comes as a surprise that eggplant shows up so rarely in these recipes. In today’s Arab world, it is sayyid al-khudaar, the lord of vegetables, but at the time it was a recent import from India and not yet quite popular. It was considered impossibly bitter; in a widely repeated anecdote, a Bedouin declared that eggplant had “the color of a scorpion’s belly and the taste of a scorpion’s sting.” It was actually considered bad for the health. Doctors blamed it for everything from freckles and a hoarse throat to cancer and madness.
Yeah...that's it...that's where my freckles come from...but who you callin' Mad?