A mound of cream cheese sits elaborately placed in its transportation vessel, waiting for the moment it will actualize its destiny. It’s piled high inside a mushroom cap and I eye it suspiciously. It looks delicious. Surely it’s a trap. I could have been anywhere: a stiff fundraiser dinner, a trying-to-be-fancy-but-failing-miserably corporate Christmas party, a lackadaisical games night with friends. The appetizer is innocuous – harmless, yet intriguing. Something you want to try.
I’m reminded of a deep sea angler fish. The cream cheese is the dangling light that lures you in. (A bacterial light, no less. Coincidence in a fungus challenge? I think not.) You realize you’ve been played as you pick it up. But it’s too late. That mushroom cap is in your hand and on the way to your mouth. You can’t just put it back now. No way. It’s yours. Everyone’s watching… or so you think. Beads of sweat break out on your forehead. It’s now or never. You close your eyes and focus on the insides. And it works. For a moment. But then your teeth sink into the mushroom that holds all of this goodness inside in some evil twist of fate and your body involuntarily shudders.
But you keep going. Chew. Chew. Chew. The party fades away into the background. Your friends become distant memories. All there is, is the here and now. You and the Shroom. Minutes pass like hours. You feel dehydrated. You might pass out. But then the cloud disappears, the sun shines through and you swallow. You’ve done it. No one was actually watching so no one sees the triumphant smile that creeps across your face, but it doesn’t matter. You did it.
Like I said, I could have been anywhere. It just so happens I was at home with my dining companion. Much like the above situation, today was harder than the last few have been. It was really hard to reconcile all of the awesome that was happening inside the mushroom cap with the mushroom cap itself… so a little bit confusing. So far all the mushrooms I’ve eaten have been sliced or diced and this time I had to deal with essentially the whole mushroom. I finished all of the mushroom caps, but was grateful that I didn’t have to eat more and it seemed likely I would have hit the ‘ol mushroom threshold fairly soon.
I think there is something to be said for having to tear a mushroom apart that doesn’t help the situation. When they’re sliced, I can put the whole thing in my mouth and get to work, but when they’re whole I have to actually take a bite out of it which is surprisingly harder and reinforces those ideas out there that it’s essentially about everything but the taste when it comes to food aversion. In this case not only was it texture, but also the visual as I couldn’t pop it in and try to forget about it. Oh no. These suckers take two to three bites. Two to three bites where I have to look at the mushroom casualty between attempts to ingest. Not a pretty sight for me.
Today’s Fungus Feast:
Stuffed Mushrooms – white button mushroom caps, cream cheese, rosemary, lemon, garlic, and cocktail shrimp