A Supererogatory Side,
or else a Pasta Garlicy, a Risotto, or even a Frittata
Because I could not resist the Baby Bella mushrooms on sale the night I broiled my pork chop some blogs ago, I decided to have a third vegetable side that night. This inability to resist a sale testifies to the very wellspring of my cookery, namely poverty. I learned to cook as a graduate student when, in the face of indefinitely protracted doctoral dissertation composition, I tired of cafeteria food and decided that, whatever the case might be with the dissertation, adulthood could not be put off indefinitely, and it was time to cook real food for myself on a daily basis. There were however limitations, to wit, a graduate student budget. So, I would go to the supermarket, buy what was on sale, go home, call my mother, and say, “So how do I cook veal breast—it looks like it’s all bones.” Thus did I learn how to cook veal breast, and whatever else was on sale that week.
To this day, I go to the supermarket, not with a shopping list, but with a budget, even if not as constricted as in yesteryear. I look for what looks good and is at a good price, which usually means what’s in season and hence in abundance, if not locally, then somewhere on the globe. I shop global, not local, because that’s what I can afford. My senses are the final arbiter: what looks good, what smells good, what feels good—of what’s on sale—that’s what I buy, whatever its provenance, and I figure out what to do with it when I get it home.
The Baby Bella's looked good and were cheap, so I grabbed them. I love mushrooms. I do not understand people who do not. They perplex me. If the truth may be spoken, they seem to me to be missing a part of soul. I know that a soul, being immaterial, cannot have separable parts, as does a brain. It can, nevertheless, have parts of a sort, namely powers. But what power can be lacking in these poor souls? They do not lack the power of taste, for the mushrooms taste bad to them, however unaccountably. Are we to think there is a power of soul more specific than taste that is necessary for the appreciation of mushrooms? It seems pretty well established for some time now that the formal objects of sensation are five, corresponding to our five senses. And so these poor souls perplex me.