Kenneth Cleaver

Consumer Correspondent

United Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Association 727 N. Washington St. Alexandria, VA 22314


The crisis of the American Eggplant flies in the face of well-sung wisdom about judging books by their covers. With a coat reminiscent of the majestic tones of Rembrandt and Vermeer, the Eggplant could not possess a better cover. The crisis facing the American Eggplant is its name. Eggplant? The compound of egg and plant evokes fetid aromas of city dumps and genetic debacles fit for “The Far Side” cartoon. Not a palatable image, especially for finicky youngsters trying it for their first time. Is it not ironic that in an age of hyper-consumption, where image is master of all it surveys, even the most handsome of vegetables must be reconfigured?

I beg you not succumb to knee-jerk decisions and adopt the plant’s European name of “aubergine.” With the growing popularity of soccer and Austin Powers, American culture must safeguard itself from feminizing European influence. At risk of occupying the role of a curmudgeonly critic, I have taken it upon myself to offer several titles for a new American Eggplant. (1) The E-Plant; (2) E2001: The Millennial Vegetable; (3) The Purple Power Plant; (4) Purple Power Bombs; and (5) Squash 2.

Recognizing that the Eggplant is not part of my cultural identity or means of subsistence–I humbly offer my analysis. I hope it is of some use.

Sincerely, Kenneth H. Cleaver

Kenneth H. Cleaver P.O. Box 810 Bedford, NY 10506

Dear Mr. Cleaver:

We truly appreciate your interest in the eggplant and the fruit and vegetable industry. In this day of political pandering, it is refreshing when someone takes a definitive stance on an issue as you did with the eggplant. Your points are valid, many people do judge a book by its cover and will deny themselves the wonders of the eggplant simply because of its name. You have created several excellent options to rename the eggplant (my personal favorite being “purple power bombs”), but unfortunately we are not in the position to initiate such a change. Your best bet would probably be to focus on the eggplant producers themselves, and with their blessing decide and implement the next step.

Once again, we appreciate your concern.

Sincerely, Scott Porter Marketing Communications Coordinator

From the April 12-18, 2001 issue of the Northern California Bohemian.

© Metro Publishing Inc.

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