Thursday, October 25, 2012

Autumn Redux

Since Autumn is in full swing here in Le Petit Village, I'd thought I'd share with you my classic tale of one of The LPV's favorite Autumn activities; mushroom foraging. Except in this tale, I didn't do the foraging, Papa did. I simply dealt with the aftermath (the grizzly, horrible, aftermath).
Originally posted: 22 October 2009 



Let me start by saying that this should have been a much happier post. A post about delectable wild mushrooms and the beautiful gourmet meal I would cook using them. But I'm just not that girl and that's just not me.

And I will also say that this incident, that will henceforth be known as 'The Mushroom Incident' occurred over a week ago but I have had to let a little time pass before being able to write about it. Oh, and one last thing, please forgive me for any rambling that may follow, I'm still a little bit traumatized...

It all started on a Sunday evening. We went to Papa's house for a chat and drink (Provencal Rosé for me, Pastis for The Boyfriend). Papa had been very busy that day and he was quite chuffed with himself. Not only had he gone hunting and killed a wild boar (not with his bare hands - he's not Super Papa) he had also done some mushroom foraging and had a large bucket of the biggest mushrooms I had ever seen. These things were like Alice In Wonderland mushrooms, you could picture little frogs relaxing underneath with a good book and a little martini.

Seeing my excitement, Papa grabbed a bag and started stuffing mushrooms into it, all the while speaking rapidly in French giving me instructions for proper preparation and cooking with the Boyfriend translating over him. I nodded that I understood, smiled and said, "merci".
We headed home with the plan of having them for dinner the next night. The Boyfriend told me to leave them out, so I found a large bowl and left them on the counter. (Now this is my mistake, I should have covered them, they're mushrooms not fruit.)

The next day I was getting excited, I was trolling the internet and reading my cookbooks looking for the perfect accompaniments for Papa's wild mushrooms. Then the Boyfriend called. He said that he was still thinking about the merguez sausage and couscous I had cooked the night before and if there was any leftover, that's what he would like for dinner. He assured me that the mushrooms would be fine to cook the next night, Tuesday.

Now if you have read my older post entitled, 'Pizza Night', then you will know that Tuesday nights are Pizza Night in Le Petit Village and that very next Tuesday, my mushroom Tuesday turned out to be the night I learned about Pizza Tuesdays, so without expanding anymore, you know that I did not cook the mushrooms for dinner. However, a phone call to The Boyfriend's Grandmere did take place where she advised The Boyfriend to partially cook the mushrooms that evening, refrigerate them, and then finish cooking them on the Wednesday.

Fine, I'll enjoy my pizza and partially cook the mushrooms.

Then my Boyfriend's kindness intervened. "You're tired, don't cook them. Just put them in the refrigerator and cook them early tomorrow, they'll be ok." (not a direct quote but you get the gist).
Happily and tiredly I agreed. The bowl of mushrooms went into the fridge and up the spiral stairs to bed we went. (I should have listened to Grandmere.)

The next day after my coffee it was time to do some mushroom cooking. And then it happened...
Opening the fridge I was greeted by the most disgusting sight someone could see. Not just any someone, but someone who had spent the last two weeks cleaning cleaning cleaning her (previous Boyfriend bachelor pad) home to make it feel comfortable enough for a girl to live in. That comfort that I had only just begun to feel was now stripped off me like a warm duvet on a cold, rainy Monday morning...

Little maggots! Yes. Little recently hatched maggots were slithering up the back of my refrigerator. Freaking out, I slammed the door and phoned The Boyfriend at work. "Maggots!" I screamed. "What?" he asked. Terrible time for language difficulties. I grabbed my translation dictionary, trying again, "asticot!" The response I got was typical of a man who is not really paying attention and also not there to have to deal with it. "Oh".

Oh, ok, my problem I guess then.

I hung up the phone took some deep breaths and went to work. Grabbing black plastic sacks I emptied every bit of the fridge; two dozen eggs, sandwich meats, fruit, vegetables, chorizo, my cheese box, butter... everything! And of course the mushrooms. The mushrooms that I had once loved but had now turned against me. Damn Judas mushrooms. The black sacs went out to the bins. It was now extermination time. I got a spray bottle of disinfectant and let my inner Terminator possess me. I sprayed until the inside of the fridge was coated with pink chemicals but there was no way I was cleaning up their little carcasses. The Boyfriend could do that when he got home.

Payback for the unsympathetic, "oh".

I closed the door, washed my hands, took a shower, and went to bed with a book until The Boyfriend got home. Oh, and I also did what every other 'woman' my age does. I called my mother and cried.

To finish up my re-telling of 'The Mushroom Incident' this is what occurred when the Boyfriend got home; 1) Upon opening the fridge he asked, "where is all the food?". Seriously??!! 2) He then put a glass of wine in my hand and ordered me to the couch (smart boy). 3) He disposed of the little carcasses and washed the fridge with bleach and boiling water (as instructed by the internet). 4) We went to Papa's and ate some of that wild boar. It was delicious.

So that's it. It's been eight days since and honestly, every time I open my fridge I squint at the back wall. All ok so far. And on the bright side, now I have a super duper clean fridge.

I can't believe this was three years ago this week. 
How time flies.
But I still don't bring wild mushrooms home. 



  1. Oh my! I wasn't expecting maggots. Yuck, Yuck, Yuck. That would have given me three years of nightmares. Now I'm nervous to open my own fridge!

  2. OMG how disgusting!!! That's definitely enough to put you off mushrooms for life.

    I avoid mushrooming like the plague - too much at stake (my life...) - and as my DB did not grow up a country boy he agrees with me totally. It's nice to live in harmony. :)

  3. Poor you!! Well at least you didn't eat them. At first, I thought, "oh no," your story was about bad mushrooms and spending a weekend at the hospital or in the bathroom! Your story is why I never buy, nor eat, Morels because they're hollow inside, like a little hotel for bugs. Way too creepy. I restrict my mushroom consumption to the sanitized, white button mushroom from the shops, porcini that I demand to have cut in half first so I can see if there are any bugs inside, or truffles, which are too dense to harbour insects of any sort. Safety first!

  4. Nooooooo I would die! Sick out. On another note, I think you post some of the biggest produce on this blog that I've ever seen.

  5. iiick! heebie jeebies right now!!! gross... i enjoy cooking and eating mushrooms but I dont think I would enjoy finding them in the forest. good for you for being brave to clean them all up!

  6. Oh, the horror! This story makes me even less likely to spend weekends mushrooming... I don't care how much 'fun' it is like some people here keep claiming. Eeeesh.

  7. Oh my word...I would have called my Mom and cried too. I can just imagine the screaming that went on when you opened the fridge. I had a mouse that ran out of the door of my grill last summer. There was a whole lot of screaming in the hood and no grilling afterwards. xoxo

  8. EW EW EW.

    yes to the calling of the mother.

    yes to the crying.

    yes to the wine and the couch,


  9. Eek! I already didn't like mushrooms, but this confirms it!

  10. I knew there is a reason for my aversion to mushrooms! You sure there isn't a good French recipe for asticots au Beurre? Last resort is to make some Casu marzu, that French cheese with maggots...

  11. i remember reading this story before...and I haven't bought mushrooms since. The market is full right now and I was feeling ready to take a stab at it. You've ruined it for me. Again.

  12. Ok, it's official. I have lived in France WAY too long. Because this post made me laugh until I cried. Actually, I am still kind of huffy-puffy giggling as I type. Shew. Girl, you are funny. Now, I understand the trauma of the situation, having once eagerly cut into some St. Marcellin only to realize that it was wrigglin'--an event which still makes the back of my throat tense up with "don't throw up, don't throw up" memories. But wow was that well told.
    And now, like Delana, I will no longer be eating anything other than champignons de Paris...ok well maybe girolles...and chanterelles...and cepes...

  13. I remember this story from before and still find it hilarious!

  14. oh poor Sara Louise! Trauma alright! Glad all better and nice to have a sparkly fridge!


  15. Oh my! I think I would have made my husband come home and deal with the entire situation.

  16. AHHHH barf times infinity! That is SOOOO horrifying! Yikes!

  17. Sara, that story is absolutely amazing!!!

    I literally laughed out loud! Here I am, trying to get through the 1000+ posts in my google reader and this little post came along. I sat in my favorite chair, drinking tea and reading your hilarious tale of mushrooms and magots, (oh my!) and imagining myself right there with you! Thanks for re-posting this! It was a delightful read and definitely brightened my evening!

    Also, I totally don't blame you for not EVER bringing mushrooms back into the house. Your refrigerator sounded FOUL. Yuck!

    Sending a hugs and bisou from Arizona!
    <3 Mrs.Biscuit

  18. o...m...g

    was not expecting that. how degoutant!!! reminds me of the time my husband thought it would be a great idea to store birdfood in a huge plastic container on the porch just off our kitchen. bad idea. moths had infested the birdfood and proceeded to fly into my cupboard and infest the flour, the get the picture. but maggots.....well. that pretty much wins first prize in the gross category - bet you won't want to go mushroom hunting for a while ;-)

  19. AHHHHHHHHHH!!!! I would have called my mom and cried too!!! How grossssssss! I was actually imagining much worse like the mushrooms had grown over night and multiplied like Gremlins, and their roots were growing up the walls of the fridge. But maggots are just as bad! I have chills now!

    I take it you didn't cook the mushrooms?

  20. EWWWWW! Oh my word, you poor thing. I can't even imagine. UGH!

    I know this is wrong, but I was kind of laughing a little, but only when you called the mushrooms Judas Mushrooms. I'm actually still laughing about that.

  21. I couldn't believe how many vendors were selling mushrooms, especially big meaty cepes at the market in Vaison-la-Romaine the last few weeks. We bought lots but used them up quickly (they were delish) so no chance for maggots or anything else like that.

  22. I read this post last year and now truly is "oh, so yucky". I had a similar experience with a trash bin. My brother-in-law disposed of some raw fish guts, after cleaning his catch, in the bin without putting it into a sealed plastic day, I opened the bin to find 1000+ maggots crawling up the sides!!!! I was mortified to say the least! I had to clean the whole thing myself, just as Gregory did, with bleach and water.

  23. I would have DIED. This is not even an exaggeration. I would have died after bawling my eyes out, because I am TERRIFIED of maggots. Is it ridiculous to be so scared of something so small? Probably not. I would have made him clean out the fridge. I would have just run away and hid until it was done.

    and I like that you call them Judas mushrooms.

  24. ewewewewewewewewewewew!!! i have the shivers!!

    ps. i had a mouse in my apt a few weeks ago... basically i didn't sleep for a week thinking that it would somehow get into bed with me

  25. oh my goodness! Really! I would have croaked. I am ok with bugs....maggots...totally another story. Gross. And I do feel like you are living straight out of a novel :) and this reader is hooked!

  26. Uhh, what a nice surprise! :(( Poor Sara!

  27. Oh goodness, I feel sick! Mushrooms aren't my favorite (I eat them, and often enjoy them)...but this is awful. At least I now know what to do if I ever find myself in a similar situation, though I hope I don't xoxox

  28. Ha ha, what a funny story! You're such a great writer.. this was fun to read!


  29. I shouldn't have read this whilst eating my lunch. :-/


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