Saturday mornings start at 5:30am, the alarm shocks me out of a deep slumber, I grind some coffee and murder a pot of coffee. With sleep in my eyes I drive a white van to a farm, pick up produce that farmer Rod has grown, and I drive it to Melbourne. I spend the day handing over heavy boxes of organic vegetables and fruit to punters in the city that want real food to cook with. It's very rewarding, simply talking to people about real food is enjoyable in itself. By afternoon I've returned to Ballarat where I drop off the hire van, stumble into my car and head home for a spell of chilling out. Last night though, I went home via the forest. About a week ago we got a little touch of rain, and I gambled that the rain was enough for some mushrooms to sprout. Taking the backwoods road home from town is often a chosen route. There are two ways home, one on the paved country roads past rolling green hills of grazing sheep, cows or pastures of chemical laden potatoes, maize, canola or wheat or barely. The other route is bush. Unmade roads that weave in mesmerising fashion through moody eucalyptus forest and neatly planted pine plantation.
By the time I reached my chosen spot, the grey clouds had covered the late sun, it was now dusk, late dusk. Rain was falling sideways, filling my glasses with tiny droplets, rendering them unless. With my glasses off I walked bent over like an ancient man scanning the forest floor for pine mushrooms. After a few minutes I discovered a the first few buried under needles. I pulled out my pocket knife and gently cut the stem, and another, then another. In one hand I held a growing pile of mushrooms, in the other my knife. I was running out of hands. Off came my hat, which often ends up as an impromptu carrying device. In went the mushrooms, one after another until it was over flowing. Enough food for two good meals.
Walking back to the car I looked back along the path I had just traversed. It was almost dark, the rain continued falling sideways. A thick mist had developed high in the canopy of the pines, which by now sat darkly contrasted against the pale sky. I thought to myself "what idiot does this?" In fairly horrible conditions, after a big day of hauling boxes here I am, picking mushrooms on a dismal day for a meal I'm not even cooking for dinner because, well I couldn't be stuffed. (I was planning for a mushy breakfast the following day.) I clambered into the drivers seat and drove those muddy roads home. I thought about the life I have chosen, the deliberate actions I take. It's definitely not the answer for everyone, but I like it for me.
In the morning I cooked mushrooms with home cured Jamon, home grown garlic, home grown thyme, and served it on home made sourdough bread. Home made. I am pleased with my choices.
Once upon a time I decided that most of the food I ate was shit. So I thought that maybe if I took care of making it myself, then I might improve the 'goodness' of the food, and thus improve my inner 'goodness'. Seems to be doing the trick.