(the misadventures of an expatriate corporate dropout)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

je suis une champignonniere!

Today I went mushroom hunting with my neighbor and friend, Nicole.  She is a champion of the forest, a veritable ange des champignons, could it have anything to do with being named Dubois?  she adores her precious Perigord region and until today, seemed reticent to bring me along to her secret places...but invite me she did and I jumped at the chance.

I have been a few times before with groups, never being any good at it but enjoying the walk.  Today, it rained softly and the first hour or more, we found zilch.  We were on our third location when we struck gold.

Nicole had found three or four cèpes, and was decidedly downcast.  Me, I found lots of inedible stuff that had to be put back.  But now, after a few outings, I am confident in this variety ... cèpes, of the boletus family, a cousin to porcinis so I am told. 

Finally! I spotted a corner of a mushroom hiding under a branch.  A big cèpe noir, a luscious dark brown cap (or chapeau), firm and enormous stem ... entirely edible.  I had stumbled upon a grove, it seemed! Suddenly we were discovering them left and right.  Big and small.  They are clever, these fungi, hiding themselves under grass and leaves, camouflaged well.  We estimate our hall at about ten kilos of mushrooms!!!  check the prices out on those babies and you will see why we were reluctant to depart.

Now, I am gently sautéeing them in only olive oil, after which they will be frozen for winter. 

Day by day, I am trying to recover that woman that tossed everything to the wind to come here ... and also to recover those experiences that made it all worthwhile! like mushroom hunting.  doing my own small winter projects.  Improving my french.  expanding my ring of friends.

I have been lost, struck hard by financial uncertainty and trying not to lose it all! my zest, my foothold here, my adoration of this feisty land and her citizens.  nothing that has happened to me is france's fault ... thankfully!  no, the reality is that France keeps trying to save me.  And she is succeeding, along with my help.

As I wandered in the woods today, I thought about the time when mankind here relied on such activities for survival.  I wonder if they took pleasure in the act itself or when turning up empty handed, returned to their living spaces stressed and concerned?  for surely, they were like the squirrels preparing for the cold winter.  No Carrefours were around to ensure full larders.  They of course planted and reaped, bartered and sold and bought in the village open markets.  and they foraged, and found ways to preserve and store their precious foodstuffs without electricity's helping hand.  Life was without doubt precarious and yet, I can also imagine the pleasure of being in their land, their woods, observing all that nature could provide or would in coming seasons.

Today, we not only had a bounty of lovely cèpes, the forest floor was littered with hazelnuts and chestnuts.  we could see the beds of coming girolles in spring.  the ground was a veritable natural compost layer in action, rich earthy springy goodness.

what a delightful day.... I'm beginning to remember those again.


softinthehead said...

Lovely to hear from you again Kim - I have been absent from blogging also but trying to get back to it. Now that I am based back in Canada (surburbia) your existence there including days like the one you described today sounds wonderful - very envious - enjoy life's small pleasures :)

Maureen said...

Sounds like a wonderful day of foaraging!

It seems like we all migrate - I moved to New England from Canada. Which would seem easy but it's not! I can't imagine how difficult it is to move to somewhere where you don't speak the language.

123 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rosie said...

Very welcome back.
I took an armful of huge mushrooms up to the farmer up the road. His main advice was 'if it goes blue when you touch it, it'll kill you'. Lots of handwashing on my return!

Vuhelper said...

Nice Blogger....

comment maigrir said...

j'aime beaucoup ton boulot, ça doit être sympa