One of the problems with having an aversion to instruction manuals is the fact that that spills over into recipe usage. I wouldn't say I never use recipes (in the way I never read manuals even when the kitchen around me is flooding because I don't know how to work the new dishwasher or washing machine) but I do tend to improvise unless the Queen herself is dropping by for dinner.
For that reason I have spent my whole adult life being disappointed by aubergines. I always thought something that shiny and photogenic should taste nice but no matter what sauce or pasta I threw them in, I sadly got out chewy, bath-sponge-consistency, tasteless lumps.
Then I met Thomas who is the best cook I know but who uses a recipe for everything (including how to butter a piece of bread). He has more cookbooks than most people have books... in fact than many libraries have books but he knows about drawing the water from aubergines using salt water and frying them till they are delicious both in flavour and texture. Aubergines have now jumped from around the bottom of my preferred veg list to near top. Hooray!