Peek a bye mushrooms

Mushrooms. Mushrooms. Man, I’ve always had beef against mushrooms. It’s the texture. It’s the fact that it’s fungus. Dirty. Foamy. Stinky. Earthy. Garbage. Rotten. Slimy. Ok, you get it. As a kid, I was not okay with mushrooms. Even those little pieces of mushrooms in cream of mushroom soup. Not cool, not cool at all. You can’t hide from me!

With a little coaxing, I decided it was time to get over my fear, and force myself to like mushrooms. Mushrooms are good for you after all. They’ve got lots of B vitamins, and are an excellent source of vitamin B12, which is typically found in meat. They’re also loaded with selenium (mineral that works as an antioxidant) and vitamin D. And aside from nutrition, they apparently contribute a nice umami flavor. There are many things that I used to avoid eating that I now enjoy, so maybe mushrooms can join this list???

I was feeling so optimistic about tackling this fear that I planned out three meals this week that all contained mushrooms. Most of the recipes had a substantial portion of mushrooms in them, too, so I wasn’t just going to be shy. I bought three, three (!) packages of mushrooms and physically put them into my cart and paid for them. It ended up amounting to 25% of my total grocery bill for the week. Better be good, right? My hopes and dreams were squashed after the first meal though. Gahhhh, I’m still gagging.

Yeahhhh, all my previous feelings about mushrooms still hold true. See below.

Call me dramatic, yeah. I speak the truth for 99.9% of the population.

I should have stopped the experiment altogether after my crazy dream post-grocery shopping. Another sign that things were not going to go well… Yes, yes I may be a bit obsessed in interpreting dreams, since this may be the third or fourth time I’ve shared my dreams… I find it very entertaining though and a win when I actually can recall a dream. Sunday night I had not one, not two, but three dreams! If you recall, one of the last dreams I had was of a shark eating my prized pet fish. And what happened next? I ended up making a mushy, beany, unattractive, foul, UNfresh poopy looking mass that I loaded into clear-ish spring roll wrappers. Here’s the set of dreams this week:

  • Dream 1: Fredy had some sort of scuffle with an animal in the backyard. I called him inside, and he appeared to be fine at the time. He jumped up on the couch to lay down. Shortly after, I noticed that his entire tail and part of his arm and leg had fallen off on to the couch. On the couch!
    • Meaning: I was reinterpreting the other night when Fredy brought a nasty rabbit foot inside (without me noticing), and started chewing it on MY couch…
    • Ewwww
  • Dream 2: I was in a movie theater parking lot, and this was a very weird parking lot. It kept spiraling upwards, and I kept going up and up. Eventually, the angle got too steep and my car wouldn’t go any further. I decided to hop out of my car and just abandon it at that point. I figured that they would be able to identify my vehicle and get it back to me because I had left a piece of mail on the passenger seat.
    • Meaning: The image of a spiral is a very positive symbol. It is the image of concentration of the mind which results in progress. This was referring to my yogurt-making this week. It was a success (unlike last week), yay!
  • Dream 3: Okay, this is where it gets even stranger and when the mushrooms come in… There was a hotel connected to the movie theater. We walked through the halls of the hotel, and someone was going absolutely nuts-o with the air freshener. I remember walking through hallways and hallways of mist and they were spraying it directly in our faces. And we were doing lots of choking.
    • Meaning: Choking may be a symbolic revulsion dream. The source of the food or the food itself may be a symbol for a revulsion you feel in waking life. This referred to my mushroom experiment this week…

Shall we do a little experiment? Fredy, look at the mushroom!

Fredy: “Must not look at the mushroom, must not look at the mushroom…”
Fredy, look at the red pepper!
Red pepper!
You see? Smart doggie. He apparently doesn’t have eyes or the appetite for mushrooms either.
Well, without further ado, let me share my mushroom encounter with you. I deserve a gold star for trying. And a pat on the back.
I got loads of recipe ideas that involved mushrooms, and selected a mushroom sloppy joe recipe, lentil-mushroom meat substitute that I was going to put over homemade pasta and homemade tomato sauce  (from the thousands of tomatoes that I harvested last summer), and I was going to do a miso soup. If I were to assign a rating from 1-10 with 1 being “not bold,” and 10 being “very bold,” I would give the mushroom sloppy joes a 7 (because there are a lot of mushrooms in there!), the meat substitute would be a 2 (because there are fewer mushrooms and they’re hiding behind lentils), and I would give miso soup with mushrooms a 9 (because those mushrooms aren’t hiding behind anything). Raw mushrooms would be a 10, but there was no way I was going down that road. Ever. I decided to go semi-bold right off the bat with the sloppy joes, then back off a little with the meat substitute because I had anticipated some revulsion from the first encounter, and then just go all out bold after that with the soup.
Soooo sloppy joes with a ridiculous amount of mushrooms…
First off, I had to cut up an 8 oz package of cremini mushrooms. I cut them up semi-small in the hopes that I would never get a bite in my final product with one giant mushroom and no meat. In retrospect, I should have cut them into larger pieces. Easier to pick out… This was my first experience cutting mushrooms. I think I prefer the feel of my knife moving through something crunchy versus foamy. It was a special sort of experience.
So many mushrooms.
In a large skillet, add the mushrooms, 1 lb of ground turkey (can use ground beef), and a generous amount of minced garlic (at least two cloves). Cook until meat is brown.
Then add 1/2 cup vegetable broth, 2 T Worcestershire sauce, 1 T white wine, 1 T molasses and some cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil, and then simmer until the sauce thickens and is no longer liquidy. Boom. Easy dinner.
I served with some homemade baked beans: Drain and rinse a can of pinto beans and put in a small saucepan. Add a generous amount of ketchup, some dried mustard powder, a teeny bit of brown sugar and cayenne pepper. Heat until warm and then serve.
I toasted a piece of bread and made sure that the sloppy joe-mushroom mixture was sitting on a generous bed of pepper jack cheese.
Final product.
I went into it with an open mind, but I just COULDN’T get over that rubbery texture. Even with the cheese and the toasted bread. And the meat. It’s like chewing on a bike tire, not that I’ve ever done this before… I ate it all, and even gave myself a pat on the back. And I rewarded myself with ice cream.
Stupid me though. I was too exhausted to make my usual fancy lunch salad, so I packed some sloppy joe leftovers for lunch the next day. I spent 10 minutes separating the meat from the mushrooms. Apparently, it provided some entertainment for my coworkers. You’re welcome.
Focused on segregating mushrooms from meat.

We had some nice mushroom conversations while lunching that day. My favorite went something like this, but not exactly. I’m making some of this up because I can’t recall all of it. I was too busy picking out those mushrooms.

Me: I wonder how long it takes you to die from mushroom toxin??
Person A: Not immediately.
Person B: Maybe 6 or 7 days?
Person C: Or maybe it’s like The Ring. They’ll call you every night and say, “you will die in x days” in a super scary, raspy voice.

The moral of the story? Turns out I never want to grow up. I’m not definitely saying no to mushrooms, I just won’t personally spend my own money on them ever again. Or cook them in my kitchen. If you make me a meal that happens to have mushrooms in it, I will try them just as long as you can promise me that I won’t be chewing on rubber. Prove me wrong.

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