Gentle readers, I have something momentous to report. Three weeks ago, I (Mrs. O) personally shopped for, bought, cleaned, sliced, cooked, and ate — mushrooms.
I have resisted the allure of edible fungi for many years, finding the texture not at all to my liking. As a small child, I pulled the mushroom chunks out from any casserole made with cream of mushroom soup, and stealthily deposited the chunks behind a bookcase, where they remained for sometime before they (and I) were discovered. That day I had to eat all the mushrooms in my casserole, hot and then cold, and mushrooms and I have been out the outs ever since.
But during our December visit to my parents, my father made, among other succulent dishes, a majestic roast beef, surrounded on its platter by mushrooms and onions sauteed in red wine. At the end of dinner, I simply couldn’t resist the smell. I speared a mushroom, ate it, and was pleasantly surprised at the woodsy, winey taste, the firm texture, and my lack of visceral hatred. Mushrooms, it seemed, were delicious.
And so, when we came home, I resolved to experiment by eating a mushroom I cooked myself.
Mr. Baby and I took a stroll to our local Armenian market, where I picked up an unassuming package of cremini mushrooms. I cooked the sliced caps (stems were reserved to make mushroom broth) in butter and sherry, adding chicken and cream and s&p at the very end of the cooking, and served the concoction over mashed potatoes (figuring that even if I hated the mushrooms, I’d not go hungry).
And it was lovely. Tender chicken, firm mushrooms, and a omey, rich, and beautifully brown sauce. For years I’ve made chicken Marsala without the mushrooms, and always wondered why my sauce seemed pale. No longer do I wonder, and from now on I’ll use the mushrooms. We like the dish so much that I made it again last night, served over wild rice provided by my dad).
Mr. O wonders if this change of heart means that I’ll soon be eating summer squash and (cooked) zucchini. Probably not, I’d say, but ask me again at the end of the summer.
By the way, Readers who know the provenance of this post’s title get bonus points.