Saturday, November 14, 2009

Fresh wild parasol mushrooms, hand-picked, fluffed in organic flour, basted in free-range eggs, rolled in breadcrumbs and then fried until crispy, served with garlic mayonnaise.

Don’t you just love the way that restaurants and gastro-pubs big up their fodder with flowery over-the-top descriptions? But aren’t you also tempted? Have I suckered you in to parting with your cash? You’re going to order this starter, aren’t you? Here’s the good news: it’s free!

I popped round to see Sébastien and Jeanne today to pick up a couple of trugs of fallen apples to feed to our pigs and ask if Jeanne (a pig vet by trade) had organised the borrowing of an animal trailer (from a pig farmer she works with) so that we can take our own pigs to the abattoir in a weeks time (after eating those apples). Sébastien was sanding the floor in one of their children’s bedroom and asked me to shout up when I’d collected the apples, so he could descend and drink a beer with me. I said that I should return home and tell Gabrielle what I was up to (my father had terrible previous for popping out for five minutes and reappearing hours later having bumped into friends on his travels). I could also pick up a thing I have to clean his sander’s belt, reducing the need to change belts.

After I’d done the rounds of the animals, explained the beer thing, picked up the cleaning block and got back, we sat round their kitchen table talking mushrooms and drinking beer. As I came to leave, he said that he’d seen a big parasol mushroom that morning and that I should drive him up the road, past the lake to see if it was still there. It was. He picked it. I fried it. And Gabrielle and I ate it; it was huge, delicious and free!