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May 13, 2009
What To Do With
Mushroom the ‘Tweener
Among foods, mushrooms are not mushrooms. They are ‘tweeners. It was
this difference in names that has in the past led to substantial
breakdowns in communication between people and the food they eat. It has
been hypothesized that this, in turn, led to the erroneous categorizing
of Pluto as a planet. When the error was discovered, it was corrected
under the guise of a change in definition among astronomers because it
was believed that the release of this information may cause a public
panic over talking food.
This can now be shared publicly because translators have finally figured
out why it is that mushrooms are known among their own kind as
‘tweeners. The reason is quite simple – they exist somewhere circulating
around in the netherworld between vegetable and meat. Although some
scientists might be tempted to tell you that this has much to do with
biological classifications, in reality those biological classifications
are themselves spoiled by the unknown nature of the mushroom: Is it meat
or is it vegetable?
The quandary comes down to this: You may make a burger from a whole cap
of a Portobello mushroom, or you may slice up the same mushroom and add
it to a green salad. Now you know. Now you are certainly stumped.
What is known is that there are a couple of foods that mushrooms get on
with well enough that they never appear out of place. Try sitting a
mushroom next to an apple. It doesn’t work, and never will even if you
were to contemplate it for five billion years. Things seem out of sorts.
Place an orange next to a leek, and the appearance of the world rights
Place those things next to each other in a heated skillet with olive
oil, and you have the beginnings of lunch.
Both the mushroom and the leeks must be sliced thin. You will want both
to soften and also to release their own internal juices into the bottom
of the pan, where they will join with the pressed garlic that you began
gently frying after turning on the skillet (this reversing of time is
one of the mushroom’s charms).
Add also some sliced zucchini. You are doing this for both flavor and
appearance. It may complain at first – the mushroom, with its
indecipherable ways, tends to make the simple squash somewhat
uncomfortable – but eventually it will just go along to get along.
Zucchini is nice like that.
the three cook, add some dashes of red pepper flakes for some added
warmth to the finished product. It will be done when all ingredients
have softened and the mushrooms have turned a nice golden brown.
There is one thing between what you have in your skillet and its
ultimate destination, which is a nice bed of warm brown rice – soy sauce
and fresh squeezed lemon juice. These will mix with whatever juices are
in the bottom of the pan to create a velvet-y, mushroom-y sauce for the
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