While I love mushrooms, I love even more wild mushrooms, and recently I was able to sit down with some friends (who had been out all day hunting mushrooms) for a repast of morels... and items purchased at a local store.
I was able to join in on the last leg of the morel hunt, which took place in town (yes, they do grow here, but they can be hard to find). With my mycologist friend (BC) moving out of town, he was less reluctant to bring along some friends (PE, who was interested in learning how to hunt for mushrooms, and me, who was less interested in the hunting, and more interested in the company). BC and PE had already been to a few sites that day and, on their swing through town, picked me up for their last search site. (We stopped to pick up some additional fare: beer and complementary comestibles.)
After about an hour at our last site (sorry folks, no comment), we only had two morels to show for it, and they were both found by BC. Still, these two would add to the small haul that BC and PE had managed to get earlier in the day.
We headed back to BC's house. Together with other friends and housemates, we set to making a wonderful dinner for seven. The cutting preparation of the morels required a bit of work to ensure that bugs and worms (which often crawl up the fruiting body to live and enjoy the tasty morel, too) were removed before cooking. (As much as I don't mind a little extra protein, I felt that this step is warranted when one wants to have a nice meal.)
The final meal (chips with freshly made guacamole, grilled grass-fed beef steaks, organic pork chops, scalloped potatoes, chopped bacon and cabbage, peas cooked in butter, and (of course) the morels), was a wonderful combination of very earthy flavors, and melded flavors so very simply and very well.
The conversation softened as people tucked into their plates, BC playing the part of the host and making sure that all got enough food before sitting down himself. After about a minute of silent eating (well, silent eating interrupted with exclamations of how good everything tasted), the conversation started to meander lazily along many streams, flowing like a river lazily reaching its delta: slowly pushing through dense stands of personal experience, returning to the main channel of conversation, breaking off to surround and build memory sandbar, slowing down to near-stillness of pregnant pauses of conversation.
The evening ended, as evenings eventually must, and we all left, saying our good-byes, promising to help BC with his packing, loading, and moving come the start of the week. It was, in all, a great meal for a great friend.