Mind Over Mushroom Challenge, Day 23: Liquid Courage

Yesterday was a catastrophe so today I decided to hit the bottle to help me through. Drinking BeerJust kidding. Sort of. It was a beer-battered mushroom popper kind of day.

Throughout the prep and cooking, I started to feel that these were going to be delicious, but the events of yesterday still haunted me as I took my first bite. Everything but the mushroom was really awesome: the batter on the shroom, the dip to accompany it, and the beer to wash it down. Despite all of that, the mushroom was still an upset. Like yesterday, I had to bite into the whole mushroom and it was not enjoyable. As I looked at the half still in my hand it was like I was re-living yesterday: the same gross grey fat blob peered out from inside the batter and I could feel my instinctual gag-reflex rising up inside. I battled it back down and popped the other half into my mouth.

It’s not as bad as you think it is. It’s not as bad as you think it is. It’s not as bad it’s not as bad it’s not as bad it’s not as bad it’s not as bad it’s not as bad…

Bile and vomit rise up in my throat. I force it back. I eat another. I don’t take a bite – I put the whole thing in my mouth so I don’t have to see the insides. It helps. A little. I chew slowly focusing more on the gag that is still trying to erupt from the pit of my stomach than on the actual mushroom itself. I know it isn’t as bad. But like some horrible mind game, every time I blink mushrooms flash across my thoughts and I keep seeing the other half of the mushroom. I try to force it out of my mind, but it keeps pulsing back in like a terrible techno beat.

I eat another.

I dig in deep, reaching down into the very pit of my stubbornness. I refuse to quit. I will not let the shroom win. I will be victorious! The impulse to gag hovers at the top of my throat. I will not barf. I will not gag. I won’t be as weak as yesterday.

Somehow I make it. I sit back in my chair and cradle the beer. I sit there long after the mushrooms are gone and the meal is over. Like reflecting on a bad night out, I can still feel the impulse to upchuck lurking inside. I can tell a line has been drawn in the pit of my stomach. I came to the edge of it yesterday; today I crossed it. I don’t feel particularly proud because I wouldn’t say that I overcame my aversion, but rather that I am so damn ornery that I forced myself to endure it.

Today’s Fungus Feast:

Sauce – mayonnaise, chives, lemon juice, Dijon, thyme, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, and garlic

Beer Battered Mushrooms – cremini mushrooms, flour, chives, thyme, salt, pepper, dark beer (I used Sasquatch Stout from Old Yale Brewing Co…. it was great), and vegetable oil

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