For a long time, the idea of eggplant made me slightly queasy. It was a weird vegetable — kind of soft, kind of bitter, unpredictably textured. I just couldn't wrap my head around it. So I avoided it for years. What I needed was a gateway to eggplant, an ambassador from the other side. Baba ghanoush, Papa Eggplant, as my Greek friend calls it, was what I needed.