Eggplant will often require that slices be salted before cooking in order to draw out some of the natural bitterness.
Originally an Oriental ornamental plant, eggplant got its name from yellow and white fruited varieties with egg-sized fruits. Eggplant were brought to America by Spaniards as "berengenas," meaning apples of love.
Ladies in the high society of China once made black dye from dark eggplant skins and used it to stain their teeth to a black luster, a fashionable cosmetic use.
In India and Medieval Europe, eggplant was credited with remarkable properties as a love potion. By the 16th Century, northern Europeans were calling eggplants, "mad apples" in the belief that consumption would cause insanity.