Stalking Porcini - Or How Mushrooms Caused Me to Engage in All Seven Deadly Sins
Lust - There's a reason why mushroomers so often refer to their prize in terms of romance and sexual imagery. When the summer monsoons come, chiming the opening bell of porcini season, I start to burn with desire. But just one look at a B. rubriceps of the Rockies, with its wine-colored cap, creamy pores, and finely netted stalk, and you will understand the lure of its physical beauty. And just one whiff of a porcini - smelling like a mashup of baby skin, loam, and rain on pavement - is all you need to know what it means to be a creature of this earth, a fleshy lust-filled mortal, born of dirt and returning in the end.
Sloth - Ok, so my house is always a bit of a pit. But lately, it's become a real craphole. This is in part due to the fact that I like to spend my free time lounging under a tree, fancying myself the Rockies' answer to Rene Redzepi, creating whimsical mushroom recipes beautiful enough to be museum pieces. No seriously, I could sooo do that. I'm the creative type, after all. Which, by the way, is my usual excuse for messiness. But add porcini obsession into the mix, and dishes and dust seem to fade into the background. Don't worry, though, I do clean the toilet regularly, so it's still safe to visit, k?
Envy - The other day, a friend told me that someone had come home from the high altitude mixed conifer forests with 70 lbs of porcini. Did I think, yay mushrooms, go team! Uh, no. I was burning with jealousy, the kind that causes you to see spots and get heartburn. Why can't I find the sweet spot, the mother lode? Why can't I be the person who comes home with 70 lbs of porcini? Why, why, why, why??? (hang on a sec while I shut the curtains so that nobody can see me rolling around on the floor, pounding my fists)
Wrath - And don't think I possess simple jealousy when it comes to this 70 lb mushroom snatching freak. Oh no. I want to hunt him down, tape him to a chair, drop some water onto his forehead in a effort to make him tell me where to find that poricni patch, and then make away with his mushrooms. Wa-ha, take that you stinking mushroom hog! I win, sucka! And sadly, this little fantasy isn't my only brush with wrath. It seems that I may have warned more than one mushrooming companion with physical violence should they bag more than me. But I plead the fifth. Maybe it was someone else who threatened to konk Erica over the head, or brawl with Julia in the forest.
And finally, of course, there is...
Gluttony - Porcini mushrooms are prized the world over for their superior flesh and flavor. Now that I've had the Rocky Mountains' finest, I'm forever ruined for simple grocery store buttons. The flavor of wild porcini is buttery and full, tasting of chestnuts, ham, and wood. Porcini are so delicious that I want to eat them breakfast, lunch, dinner, on a boat, on a train, and in the rain! I want to eat them served over pasta, on pizza, in eggs, and with steak. I want to cozy up to a bowl of deer stew enriched with dried B. rubriceps. I want to experiment with porcini powder, and oil, and even infused-alcohol. And most of all, I want to eat those delicious gems, sauteed in gallons of butter, with a smidge of wild garlic and monarda.
Sigh, here I was supposed to dissuade you from falling for porcini, to spare you the the possibility of committing these same deadly sins. But I can't do it, because the taste of freshly foraged wild porcini mushrooms is positively bewitching, and well worth risking eternal damnation. So, if you get the chance, hook up with an experienced mushroom hunter or your local mycological society, and forage some Boletus edulis for yourself.
*Ok, you got me. That was just another attempt to have all the mushrooms to myself.
I'm sharing this one with Real Food Wednesday, and Pennywise Platter Thursday.