So, here’s a story for you. A flight from Dubai empties at the Melbourne airport, a man is randomly yanked (by security) from the wad of disembarking passengers, and for once, they’ve picked a winner. (I myself have been pulled over many times, only to disappoint the friskers with no carry-on item more life-threatening than, well, once I was carrying a wrench. Long story.) The guy has, in his suitcase, an eggplant.
Okay, so far, not that interesting, I know, but then they tell the guy to drop his pants, apparently a routine request when you’re caught transporting an eggplant. (Thank God they don’t have the same rule for people carrying wrenches.)
He’s wearing black tights under his pants (always a red flag), raising suspicions (and eyebrows) and they tell him to drop the tights, too. And there, wrapped in padded envelopes and strapped to his legs, are two pigeons.
The question that has not yet been publicly answered is, why does a guy subject himself to a ten-hour plane flight with pigeons strapped to his calves? Isn’t air travel punishing enough already? Maybe there’s a shortage of pigeons in Australia so they fetch big bucks. Or maybe this was some kind of fraternity hazing stunt. Or maybe it was actually the pigeons who were smuggling the man.
Whatever the explanation, I know one thing: In the future, I will never knowingly carry an eggplant in my suitcase. And just in case they come up with some other goofy reason to make you drop your pants, I am definitely going to upgrade my travel underwear.
P.S. If you happen to be a lucky airport security guy who gets to take home a confiscated eggplant but you don’t know what to do with it, here’s a recipe for you. (I have no recipes for confiscated pigeons. If you end up with one, I suggest you do the pigeon-friendly thing: cut it loose in Manhattan.)
CONFISCATED EGGPLANT BURGERS
1 confiscated eggplant
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large tomato
1 fresh (8-ounce) mozzarella cheese
4 burger buns
½ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons basil pesto
2 cups arugula
1. Preheat your broiler.
2. Peel your smuggled eggplant. Cut four ¾-inch slices, reserving the remaining eggplant for another use (like feeding smuggled pigeons.) Sprinkle the slices with salt and set them in a colander to drain for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the tomato and the mozzarella into ½-inch slices and set aside. Combine the mayo and the pesto in a small bowl and set aside.
3. Rinse the eggplant slices and squeeze them to extract any liquid. Brush them with oil, place them on a baking sheet and stick ‘em under the broiler. Broil for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until the eggplant is lightly browned and tender. Top each eggplant “burger” with a slice of tomato and then a slice of cheese on top of that. Continue to broil until the cheese is melted.
4. Spread each bun with the basil mayo on both sides. Place an eggplant burger and some arugula on each bun, and serve hot, with a refreshing bottle of whatever liquid you confiscated from a traveler today.