July 5, 2011
You know that saying “There’s no such thing as a free lunch”? Whoever came up with this saying has clearly never been mushroom hunting…. Or perhaps I should say mushroom foraging. Hunting implies a level of effort that may actually count as working for your lunch, thereby compromising its “free” status.
While there are some mushrooms for which (I am told) you do actually need to hunt, the chanterelles I found in my parent’s yard this weekend were most definitely not in that category. In fact, against the mossy green backdrop from which they emerged, their vivid coral hue all but shouted HERE I AM – HAVE AT ME!!
And so I did.
Wait a minute, you may be thinking. Are you sure that’s what that color means?
Good question. Deep in the recesses of my once-hunter-gatherer brain, I was wondering the same thing myself. Because traditionally, organisms that advertise such bright colors are usually trying to tell us something much different — something more along the lines of, oh, I don’t know… I CONTAIN LETHAL TOXINS. EAT ME AND YOU SHALL SURELY PERISH.
So yeah, that was a possibility.
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November 30, 2010
You know what I don’t get? All the hooplah about Butternut squash.
As soon as fall rolls around, everyone everywhere (from cooking magazines to coworkers to mom) is raving about it, putting it in stews and chilis and soups and salads, talking about it like it’s the height of squash sophistication.
Enough already! I mean yeah, the long neck is ideal for getting evenly-sized perfect little cubes of squash, and it’s got an appealing name (butter nut… mmm) — but otherwise it’s not all it’s cracked up to be, is it?
Let’s face it: it’s always been one of the more difficult squashes to cut. Getting through that neck is treacherous, am I right? Seriously — everyone has a butternut squash horror story. Some even have the battle scars to prove it.
What’s worse, when you do finally succeed in hacking the little beast to pieces, it often yields up (what I find to be) flesh that is a) overly moist, b) usually kind of stringy and c) only somewhat sweet some of the time. Yes, after all that work you’re not even guaranteed a sweet reward.
So there you find yourself, standing over the stove, with sore biceps and bleeding digits, surrounded by buff-colored squash peels and band-aid wrappers, and all you have to show for it is some vaguely-sweet, fibrous orange glop.
Okay so maybe I’m exaggerating a wee bit.
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August 16, 2010
Despite the fact that it is approaching late summer and the markets are crawling with all manner of lush, succulent produce — peaches and nectarines, heirloom tomatoes and corn and baby summer squash in more colors, shapes and sizes than I knew existed — somehow I found myself with a hulking bunch of decidedly not lush, wouldn’t-describe-it-as-succulent-if-you-paid-me (even for a hundred dollars, there are lines I just won’t cross) kale in my refrigerator.
Wow that was a long sentence.
But I digress.