Thursday, August 16, 2012

Stayed-Married Mushrooms

In a very convoluted way, these mushrooms kept my parents' marriage together. Whether that was good or not is another story.

You see, I absolutely loved mushrooms when I was a kid. Loved them. I loved them on pizza or in stews or just about any way they came to the table. I like them best when they were served all by themselves. Mom cooked in butter and  finished with a squeeze of lemon towards the end of cooking, and I adored them that way.

One day my dad decided to cook mushrooms the way his mother made them. This was really unusual - dad never cooked. Ever. But for some reason he decided he wanted to cook some mushrooms. 

And I hated them. 

My dad was disappointed because he thought he was introducing me to something special. But I had been looking forward to the lemon-flavored mushrooms and his were heavy on black pepper. They just didn't please my little-kid taste buds.

Some time after that, my dad asked me a horrible question. If he and my mom split up, who would I want to live with? Wellll ... those mushrooms weighed heavily on my mind. I was pretty sure dad couldn't cook. How could that work? We'd both starve. But my little-kid brain reasoned that if I lived with my mom, I could pack up dinner and bring it to my dad to eat.

And so I said that I'd choose to live with mom. And that was the last I heard about them splitting up.

If only he made pancakes, the result could have been very very different.

Now, I like mushrooms cooked this way. Not only are they great as a side dish, but they make a good topping for steak or other meat. Sometimes I throw caution to the wind and add some diced onion. But mostly I make them just like dad did.

Dad's Mushrooms

1 tablespoon butter
1 pound white or brown mushrooms, cleaned
Pinch of salt
Several generous grinds of black pepper
1/4 cup sour cream

Melt the butter in a frying pan. Slice the mushrooms and add to the pan. Add the salt. Cook, stirring as needed, until the mushrooms lose their moisture and it has mostly evaporated again.

And the black pepper and sour cream. Stir to coat the mushrooms with the sour cream and cook until the mixture thickens. If you want the mushrooms a little saucier, you can add more sour cream. Serve warm, Garnish with a little extra sour cream, if desired.