Might be a (Dry Land) Fish Tale
To hear him tell it, my handsome, kind, generous younger brother has been eating a bounty of Wayne County morel mushrooms already this year. I don't know. I photographed the mushrooms on the left last year on April 28. That is three weeks later in spring than the date when this supposedly honest, loving brother called me last week and actually used the word "gloat" as he described the butter, the morels, the smells coming from the stove, the colors, the anticipation... We know morels can inspire less than moral behavior in members of my family. Well, to be honest, we only know that about one member of my family - as explained in my public confession, made nearly three years ago. By now I may have done enough public penance to nearly repay the debt I owe society for that juvenile theft. I hope not to add to the recidivism statistics, but remaining pure can be hard.
I hate to have to report this to the public at large, but this very same open-hearted, good-looking, adorable younger brother came to my house to visit this week -- without mushrooms. Not a morel to be found in car trunk or cooler, briefcase or box, not even in his jacket pocket. Still he asserts, with innocent face, that "at least a pound, maybe a pound and a half" were intended to take the trip from his house to mine. And starts talking about the relative merits of a light breading versus the family favorite approach - "just fry them in butter."
As punishment for talking morels empty-handed, I dragged this teller of tales out into yesterday's bitter wind -- and snowflakes -- in my back yard. I insisted he appreciate the six-foot sphagnum peat moss beds cuddling the tender roots of our two new blueberry plants. I forced him to oooh and aaaaah over the baby fruit trees, peas, and radishes in the London Ferrell Community Garden near our house, all while his toes froze on the ice-cold ground.
Now I ask the jury of Savoring Kentucky readers -- all of you wise, independent thinkers: does this sound like morel mushroom weather to you? I am no forager myself (though I would like to be) but I remember parents, neighbors and skilled foragers like Dallas Jones talking about how warm spring showers -- not icy little balls of snow and biting winds -- bring morels out.
Naah - I think these tales of the dry land fish that got away, or got eaten, or never got into the car, could be payback for the thousands of times I was a Mean Girl when we were little. I should have been a better sister. I accept it; I'm sure I deserve it - this penalty of morel deprivation.
I hope for full justice -- or forgiveness -- in another world, though. Some dream of milk and honey. I anticipate morels and homemade butter in a cast iron skillet. Oh, and maybe just a few finely rolled cracker crumbs to keep things interesting.
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