Monday, October 24, 2016

Happy Hunting Grounds

Carmel moved from the city to the country for two years and then back to the city again, where there's work, and she now visits my place for her shot of woods and countryside and, by the way, my expertise with pot roast, this time with Italian red wine sauce and served with polenta. Tres sophisticato!, or something like that. Carmel's friend with the lolling tongue is Janey, her exceptionally fine purebred border collie. The two of them are among the waning number of my friends still willing and able to walk the woods and bushwhack for the adventure of it. Beautiful and temperate late-October days can't be wasted! So off we went (with me wearing hunter orange; it's crossbow season) climbing some strenuous slopes, descending into ravines, and Janey reverting to feral dog and kicking up as many leaves as she could. I had explained why mushroom-hunting season was over and how I had preserved my finds when we found a fresh Hen of the Woods between the "toes" of an oak tree.
       I said it was edible but I'd leave it there because I had my year's supply, and Carmel, who'd never seen one in the wild before, to my surprise said, "I want it. I'll take it." So we cut it from the earth, and I explained its anatomy and how to cook it (break or cut it into florets and sautee or roast like cauliflower), and here she is with her prize. She took it back to the city--what an adventure for the mushroom!--and cooked it for herself and boyfriend, who was once Demetrius's best friend, and they pronounced it delicious.

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