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The Trouble with Eggplant

Hi everyone - 

I have been a silent member of this list for about a month and want to
say I really enjoy the recipes and tips. I do have a question about
cooking eggplant. For the past 6 months for health reasons, I have been
eating a very low calorie/low fat diet which includes mostly vegetables
and grains. I love eggplant (when cooked in a restaurant) but just can't
quite get the hang of cooking it at home. Either I cook it too long or
not long enough or the eggplant is bad. I think my first problem is that
I have no clue how to pick out a good eggplant. How do I know which ones
are good? They all look and feel just about the same to me in the
produce section. I have tried three of the eggplant parmigiana-type
recipes in the archives with stunning failure everytime :) Even the
puppy turns his nose up at this stuff! Does anyone have any tips on how
cook it so that it becomes tender, but not mushy? As a side note, if
anyone can recommend a good health food store in the Gwinnett County
area around Atlanta, it would also be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for any and all suggestions!

Lee Ellen Carter