Mind Over Mushroom Challenge, Day 24: Mushroom Roulette

I’ve learned a few things over the past few mush meals and that has caused me to do the old switcheroo for the remaining two feasts. Initially this was supposed to be the grande finale of the challenge, but now it’s the penultimate meal.

While perusing mushroom-based dishes, I saw a picture for a ragu. Now, it’s already been established that I’m not proficient in the kitchen so it should come as no surprise that I had no idea what a ragu was. Based on the picture it just looked disgusting to me and earned top spot as my hypothesized worst meal. I didn’t look too much further into it than that. It looked gross and like it was maybe a soupy tapas type thing. It’s not.

I cooked it according to the recipe, but then had no idea how I was supposed to eat it so I turned on the internet and looked it up. Supposedly it’s some sort of sauce that goes on pasta. My cupboard’s are bare (I mean, really, I’m spending all my dough on mushrooms… I open the fridge door and it just smells like Toadstools den…) so I didn’t have pasta. Luckily I didn’t try to eat it like soup. That would have been bad. Instead, I whipped up some rice and did a little improvising.

Also important to note (a lesson I learned in the nick of time) is that marsala is wine. Not masala. Who knew one letter could make such a world of difference?

Now, where things get tricky is with the sheer variety of mushrooms that I loaded this second-to-last meal with. When it came down to the eating, it was some pretty shady business. One mouthful might be full of shiitake mushrooms, another might be chanterelle, and yet another might be shimeji.Shimeji Mushroom

[Side note: That last mushroom (the shimeji) really creeped me out. All the stems huddled together into one clump and it felt like there were a million tiny little mushroom cap heads poking out. I couldn’t even look at it – a strange, inexplicable fear that it was some Medusa-like reincarnation nagged at the corner of my mind and as I brought the knife below the mushroom caps, I almost felt that a single cut would cause the network of mushrooms to squeal or hiss like a hundred snake heads ready to attack.]

Mushroom RaguBy putting so many different varieties together, it made it very clear that there really are some mushrooms that are better than others. But I’ll never know which ones. They were all diced up and looked the same to me so every fork-full was full of trepidation. Will I get lucky? Will it be a good one? An okay one? A bad one? Which ones are the bad ones? I can’t tell. What’s this? Is this even a mushroom? It must be. It has to be. Oh, wait, no. It’s just rice and parmesan. My hands start to sweat. I fidget, eyeing up the plate of mushrooms from the corner of my eye. This is ridiculous. The meal isn’t even bad. But you don’t know what you’re putting in your mouth! Oh hell, just pull the trigger already.

Mushroom roulette is not for me.

The meal was better than I had expected, although serving it with rice was really a saving grace. However, I will now forever be perplexed by which mushrooms are okay… because I distinctly remember one precise fork-fullwhere the mushroom that was in it was maybe the best mushroom ever. We all know that my saying that isn’t really an honour. Not when it comes from me.

Today’s Fungus Feast:

Ragu – chanterelles, white mushrooms, cremini mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, shimeji mushrooms, onion, garlic, chicken broth, cream, parsley, and parmesan

Mind Over Mushroom Challenge, Day 9: Winds of Change?

I ate it all. And I did it one bite at a time. One slow, thoughtful bite at a time. You know what? It wasn’t that bad. I mean, I’m not a lover of breakfast and today’s meal was a mushroom-infused omelet so I had some things to overcome. It’s not that I hate breakfast – I just like other meals better. Sometimes I fast-track lunch and put it bright and early in the morning… I can have a pizza pie for breakfast and be quite content with that.

Mushroom Omelet for BreakfastSo today’s meal was starting with lowered expectations on top of lowered expectations. Which maybe is a good thing. The odds that things are going to be better are usually higher when you’re already skulking around the bottom of the barrel. Although that’s not necessarily the best way to look at things…

So. Things weren’t that bad.

Whereas before I couldn’t even fathom the idea of a mushroom coming anywhere near my eating facilities, now I’m buckling down mentally and forcing myself to eat them. I still say force because it is not easy… yet.

I actually believe that statement. I believe that it will become easy. For those of you have an aversion to certain foods (the mushroom is a popular one) you know where I started at and you probably don’t have faith in the statement, just like I didn’t 9 days ago. I thought I would be putting myself through hell for nearly a month and when it was over I would perhaps be slightly better off in that I would be able to control my gag reflex. What is happening is that it’s no longer primarily about controlling that reflex. While I still have issues and for the most part the process is not enjoyable, I’ve crossed over and am working at the core of the problem: the psychological issue. Although I have so very far to go… I’m getting there. (This might end up being a case of me getting ahead of myself – which I do quite often – and because I’ve had some more successful days as of late, I might be getting a little cocky. Without fail, I usually get taken down a few pegs whenever I get too confident in where I’m going challenge-wise.)

As much as it is about the mushrooms, it’s also not. I have realized how close-minded towards mushrooms I have been in the past and how that has become an ingrained part of my life. The things that seemingly comprise who you are, are everything from your humour and personality to your fears and dislikes and your universal truths. The thing about your universal truths is that it’s hard to get out of the mentalities that created them. It’s hard to change who you are. But it can be done. We will see if I can pull this change off.

…Meanwhile, my Mom is probably across the country-side muttering to herself damn kids. Whine and squeal and pout and puke when you tell them a mushroom is a piece of ham then turn around 15 years later and eat them every damn day.

Classic kid.

Today’s Fungus Feast:

Omelet: cremini mushrooms, eggs, spinach, flour, orange, red and yellow peppers, seasoning salt, garlic, cheddar, green onion.