Feeling the after-effects.
Yesterday, after a fun day of walking around Pacifica and shooting the area there, Darren and I headed to an Indian restaurant for a somewhat late dinner. He ordered the baingan bhartha (roasted eggplant mashed with onions and spices), and I got the palak paneer. We both decided to get the thali dishes, which are like a combo plate: you get the main dish, naan, rice, soup, vegetable curry, and dessert. It comes in a large round metal tray with smaller metal bowls crowded inside. Lemme find a photo of when we ate somewhere else:
There we go… It looked just like that, only it came with gulab jamun as dessert, and the rice was in a giant mound in the middle of the tray. A huge amount of food, and oh-so-good.
Anyway, the food came, and we both dug in because we had only had breakfast earlier that day. Darren looks at me and says that the soup we’d both received had eggplant in it, and I suddenly decided to figure out exactly what the hell I was stuffing in my face. I looked on his plate and saw that he had gotten a little bowl of palak-something (spinach) and that I had gotten one dish that looked different from his. Of course, it took us a little while to make the connection that we had basically received the same exact food, only he had gotten the larger bowl of baingan bhartha and I had gotten a larger bowl of palak paneer. That’s right. I had not one, but TWO dishes of eggplant on my tray.
Now, for any normal person, aubergine dishes are tasty and good, but for someone with an eggplant allergy, this is like finding out that you’ve been eating ground glass in your food. I freaked out for a little bit inside and waited for the typical reaction (my throat will start to itch and then it will get a bit difficult to swallow easily). I don’t go to the emergency room or fall down twitching, but it’s really annoying and pretty much leaves me feeling like I wish I hadn’t eaten that for a day or two afterwards.
One of the main problems it that I love eggplant. I love it. I love the taste, the texture, the smell of it. The only thing I don’t love is the whole itchy throat/”I can’t swallow” feeling that comes soon after eating it. I’d eaten about half of the little bowl before figuring out it was eggplant (it’s been a LONG time since I’ve had it and I don’t really remember what it tastes like anymore), so the only reasonable course of action was to simply stop eating it. Of course, being a total glutton for punishment and also having such intense love for eggplant, I decided that since I’d already eaten half of it, I might as well finish it. Oh boy was that a bad idea. My throat got itchier and itcher and it was harder and harder to swallow, but wow was it worth it. Man, I love eggplant so much.
When we got home, I quickly popped two Benedryl since my throat was really hurting at that point. I should also mention that I haven’t had to take Benedryl in a really long time. Anyway, since this time the reaction was way worse than before, I decided to take two, which then knocked me out and made me all groggy and I sounded drunk as hell. I think I was talking, but I don’t have any idea if it was making any sense. It put me to sleep for about an hour and then had me fitfully tossing and turning, my entire body aching like it was on fire. Well, I tossed for about another hour half-crying, half-begging Frank to make it all better, until he finally gave me a sleeping pill that knocked me out for the rest of the night. It’s morning now, but I’m still feeling a bit spacey from the sleeping pill and wishing that I hadn’t eaten the rest of that eggplant dish last night. Silly me.
Oh, and here’s a bit on the weird allergy. Eggplant is a member of the nightshade family. There are actually quite a few vegetables in the nightshade family, and if you are sensitive to one, you probably have a sensitivity to others. You can read a bit more on this site. I am especially sensitive to eggplant and raw green bell peppers. Reading through all the nightshade vegetables, I am really really hoping that I don’t develop higher sensitivity to tomatoes, potatoes, or onions. That would suck big time and I wouldn’t be able to eat a lot of stuff. Separately, I have a pretty bad kiwi allergy that I plan to test out in the near future. Both Darren and Frank say that this is a really, really bad idea, but I’m willing to see what happens if I eat a kiwi. I want to know if I have gotten more sensitive to it. Maybe it’s gone away, but that’s only wishful thinking.