We were summonsed to the family farm to do our duty today. Granddad had thought about getting a few mushies for us, but seeing his replacement hip needs replacing, he dare not. So even better, we ate very well at his sixtieth wedding anniversary bash, now we can eat very well on our own, hand-picked mushrooms.
Why is it, professor, that field mushrooms have an absolutely marvelous season one year, then don't reappear for another ten or so years? We missed the last glut, living in Aussie as we were.
The first year I spent as a New Zealand housewife and farmer-girl was way back in 1983. Mushrooms galore. Too many, I might add. We ate our mushrooms, the Browns' mushrooms, Johnny's mushrooms, and I even got to pig out on Rama Rama mushies. Boy was I sick...
Rama Rama mushrooms. Take your bucket of mushrooms, peel some. Cut the stalks off and place stalk-side-up in a frying pan full of butter. Sprinkle the gills with salt, and when the bottoms are brown, spoon the butter over the gills. Eat immediately, remembering that they are very rich and you will probably not realise for half an hour that you have eaten too many. Then get growled at by M-I-L for not eating the grilled steak and boiled potatoes she has prepared for your dinner. And definitely do no expect any pudding.
So, take one husband, one Junior and one ring-in Junior. Do not be like the little red hen and expect anyone else to participate in the mushroom gathering. Now, off you go. Three Buckets and one M-I-L for the ring-in to chat to. ('She's really cool. Who's mum is she anyway?')
First stop, just past the fifty-plus-year-old Kiwi Fruit Vine, and what do we have? Walnuts. Must pick up walnuts before this year's generation of rats discover them...
Pick up the cast sheep. Stay away from that one over there. That one. The one that isn't moving. Yep. That's it. Don't pick over here, that's an Offal Pit. Pick up cast sheep again. (Don't look at that one, it's been fly-blown. Good thing it's getting better.) Can we go up-wind of the offal pit?
Look, Linda, fairy rings. Well, almost fairy rings. Fairy half-rings, by the look of it. Whichever lazy fairy did the mushrooms this year does not know what a Ring is supposed to look like. If you see the dear fairy, please explain that a ring is like a circle...
Pick three buckets of mushrooms. Fill Gran's pockets with more walnuts, the ones from the other side of the fence. Eat Ring-in's chocolate cake. Eat Gran's chocolate cake. ('No offense, mum, this cake is even better than the last mud cake you made...' No offense indeed....)
Take mushrooms home and try to give them away. Fat chance.
Our Tongan neighbours don't eat mushrooms but very nicely pointed out our feijoa tree and asked for some of them. One bucket full and I am staggering under the weight. Hubby keeps chain-sawing the tree, and it has fruit bigger than my fist!
Send some of the mushies to our Samoan Pastor... Send them home with Junior and best friend only to find out his dad has just bought mushrooms. (I told him I was taking them mushrooming.)
Peel mushrooms. Cut off yucky bits. Cook mushrooms. Freeze mushrooms. Threaten hubby with dire consequences for making my back sore whilst standing there with the first half of a bucket. Ah, there's nothing like a bit of emotional blackmail... Anyway, he picked some really ripe ones.
Don't leave any overnight, they will all have bugs in them by tomorrow. Who cares? As Grandad says, though, they're only mushroom flavoured protein.
I saved the best, the little buttons mushies, for pate. I love mushroom pate, this recipe calls for Walnuts, but the ones we picked today are green. Will have to buy some walnuts tomorrow.
What's for dinner, asked hubby, after junior went off for another night of computer games with best friend. Mushies on Toast?
Ha. But I can recommend the Curry Leaf, if you're ever over this way. Best Naan in the country. And not a
curried mushroom in sight.
One Scrounging customer... Funny
thing, it didn't like mushrooms, either.
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