I remember every mushroom I've eaten in the last fifteen years. There have been two.
I don't like mushrooms and I don't like that I don't like them. It makes me feel like a picky eater, and I don't care much for those either. I don't like not liking anything, because it makes life difficult for other people. If someone is making me dinner, they have to keep my preferences in mind. It would be much easier if I just didn't have any.
I'm not sure what it is. I don't like the taste, I don't like the texture, and I don't like the smell. But I don't know what came first. It's possible that I was turned off by the smell and then the other things became associated with that smell. But I don't like any of it, and I can't explain why. I shouldn't have to explain why. Once I told a friend that I didn't like cantaloupe, and she asked, "Why?" I'm not sure if she expected me to have some story about a bad cantaloupe experience. Because it tastes bad in my mouth, that's why. I'm allowed to not like things, and cantaloupe and mushrooms are two things that I cannot abide.
I ate a mushroom about eight years ago. I was at an art gallery, where there was lots of free food and wine, and they were not checking IDs. There were long tables lined with finger foods. I made it my business to try everything, as if it were the samples section at Sam's Club. I saw these little balls of something or other, brown on the bottom and sorta cheesy-looking on top. I couldn't really identify them, but I am not fearful of unfamiliar foods. Then, as soon as I touched one, I knew. And I also knew that it was too late, because I had touched it and so I had to put it on my plate. I took a bite, felt sick, and threw the rest away when I thought no one was looking. Then I went and got some more free wine.
As far as my kitchen is concerned, mushrooms do not exist. When I read a recipe, I skip right over the parts about mushrooms like it's not even there, sort of like when someone sends you a greeting card with a long message written in flowing script. If the mushrooms are a crucial element of the dish, then I just don't make that. Poor Josh. He never gets any shrooms. Whenever he eats pizza at the restaurant where he works, he always has them load it up with mushrooms, because all his meals from home are fungus-free.
I ate a mushroom last Friday. It wasn't an accident, like the time eight years ago. I did it because I was intimidated.
Josh and I went over to see one of his high school buddies and his parents. The dad answered the door, greeted us, and told Josh to "take the lady's coat and put it in the closet." At that instant, I was immediately thrown off my game. Everything about this situation screamed formality at me, and I really do better with casual affairs. Even though I know how to act, something in me thinks that if I allow myself to get too comfortable, I'll slip and betray my redneck past.
Not that I have any problem with my redneck past. But some people, particularly ones who mistakenly refer to me as "the lady," might.
There were mushrooms at dinner. They were stuffed with tuna, and apparently once of Josh's friend's specialties. We also had delicate salads, Thanksgiving leftovers, and deep-fried duck. I tried rutabagas for the first time ever, because I jump at the chance to try something new. And then the mushrooms were passed around and I put one on my plate. I wondered if Josh noticed and hoped that if he did, he wouldn't say anything. I knew it was completely stupid. These were nice people. Just because they serve salads with goat cheese and dried cherries on Christmas china does not mean that they would be offended if I happened to have an aversion to mushrooms.
I ate the whole thing. It was gross. I tried so hard to like it. I tried to tell myself that I was just put off by the texture and that the taste and smell were fine. When that didn't work, I told myself that it was just the smell. That didn't work either, and for the second time in fifteen years, I came to the conclusion that me and mushrooms are just not meant to be.
The whole experience was just...odd. Even as I was eating the mushroom, I could not have told you why I was doing it. It was only later, when I really thought about it, that I figured out my own bizarre behavior and the subconscious thought behind it. Frankly, it makes me wonder. What else have I been doing for what other weird reasons?