Saturday, February 28, 2009

Edible Fungus

I have heard people talk about them. They speak in tones like they have gone through some life-changing experience. One taste and you will never be the same. It is the root of the chocaholics weakness. One sniff, one glimpse and they can be brought to their knees. Left whimpering and shaking. The truffle. According to, a truffle is defined as "any of various chocolate confections, especially one made of a mixture including chopped nuts, rolled into balls, and covered with cocoa power". Now you have to admit that does sound somewhat tasty, perhaps even drool-inducing under the right conditions. I say this now. For many years when folks went on and on about how dreamy these "truffles" were, I could not imagine that anyone would possibly think that these, these things, could possibly be looked on as a dessert paragon or a decadent snacking treat. As a young lad, I would watch cooking shows when I came home from school (yes, it was a primitive, one-room, earthen hut). One of the biggies at the time was a PBS program called The French Chef, starring old bouillabaise herself, Julia Child. She was always hammering away at various cuts of meat with an old broom handle. On more than one occasion, she showed a grainy video reel of a dirty old farmer and pig rooting around the french countryside looking for an edible fungus known as a "truffle". Now can you begin to understand the root of my confusion? The gist of my nub? The dessert taste treat was not a fleshy, edible tuber, but a chocolate yummy. Just when I was beginning to think that everyone I knew was a tasteless, uncouth dolt, I finally understood. With my confession of idiocy now complete, I embrace the simple truffle and call it my friend.