Saturday, November 14

The Rainy Day Bagel

Today I have decided to write about food again. Not just any food, but the tasty, tomato-full variety. It seemed appropriate, as I am grieving the loss of my dear friends, the tomato and the mushroom.

A few months ago, I picked up on several food related sensitivities, and the list seems to be growing every day. Initially, I was just avoiding things with wheat, gluten, and anything with MSG. I was managing well enough in spite of the fact that I had to learn how to survive without bread or pasta. Then, I learned I should also stay away from red meat and several vegetables, including tomatoes mushrooms and eggplants.

I have probably not had an eggplant in years, and I could take them or leave them. Tomatoes and mushrooms on the other hand have been ingredients I have always thought were essential to life. I would be happy eating slices of tomato, one after the other, adding salt, pepper, and olive oil. I would be happier if there was a piece of grilled bread to support those ingredients, but that is just me. Add some fresh basil, and that would be the perfect bruschetta!

I can't even begin to count the many uses for the common mushroom, let alone all of the varieties with their distinct textures and tastes. Two of my favorites are the portabello and porcini mushrooms.

There is a place called The Bagel Oasis that is several blocks from my house. I used to have a favorite sandwich called the Rainy Day Bagel. Sandwiched between a lightly toasted bagel was a thick, juicy portabello mushroom. The mushroom had a layer of swiss cheese melted on top with caramelized onions and roasted red peppers, marinated in a balsamic vinaigrette. The texture of this rainy day bagel was perfect. The outside was crunchy, and the inside was soft throughout. I remember how the juices would run down my arm while I was eating it. I know, that doesn't sound very lady- like, but you can't eat a bagel sandwich with a knife and fork. It just wouldn't be the same.

After I ate this delicious rainy day bagel, I could barely walk home before climbing up the stairs into bed. Now I realize it was everything about the bagel that didn't like me back.

Porcini mushrooms have a pungent, earthy taste that transforms whatever you are making. If you like the distinct flavor, this is a great thing. Otherwise, it would be best to find something with a more neutral flavor. I used to make a risotto with porcini mushrooms and a hint of saffron and a generous amount of parmesan cheese. This was one of my favorite dishes, but I was sensitive to 90% of the ingredients, so it didn't like me back anymore than the mushroom bagel did!

So, now in addition to saying goodbye to breads, pasta, tomatoes, and a long list of foods that have caused me to question my Italian roots, I will say good-bye to my beloved friend the mushroom.


Lisa said...

I hope you are finding some new "loves" with all this stuff you cannot have...My problem isn't with allergies, it's self-control!

Brent and Darlene said...

Thanks, Lisa!

I haven't found any "loves" yet...just things to fill the void, so to speak :) But, oddly enough, when I look through cookbooks and write about foods I miss, it is kind of like enjoying it in a different way :)

Hope you're doing well!

:) Darlene

Kortney said...

Darlene, your post made me so hungry! :) I hope your new "food friends" will become just as tasty to you one day!

Brent and Darlene said...

Thank you, Kortney!

You are so thoughtful. It has been worth it just feeling so much better.

stay warm!

MommaMindy said...

I just had my 13 year old son tested for allergies, and his list includes gluten, eggs, cow's milk, peanuts, a few beans and pepper. Talk about a boy's entire life - cold cereal and milk, peanut butter and jelly! He's old enough to kinda' enjoy the hunt for new food and understand the consequences of eating what he shouldn't. It still is frustrating! A food allergy to something you really enjoy is like being allergic to your best friend.

Brent and Darlene said...

Hi Mindy,

Oh! That really does complicate life! But, the positive side is, I'm finding there really are many more options than there probably were years ago, but still such a challenge!! Peanut butter and jelly :( ugghh!! such a betrayal!




Italy trip

I have been going through my pictures, and have enjoyed looking at this album of Italy. I was able to go over last year to attend a conference. This was the first time I have been back in twenty years. The pictures are made up mostly of places we lived as a family. My brother and I were able to go together, and we were graciously hosted by some friends of ours from language school in Perugia. I feel such a sense of nostalgia when I look at these pictures. I miss Italy so much. It was strange to go back as a tourist knowing I would be returning to the US after such a short time. Tonight I made cookies with Nutella in them, and I remembered how much I enjoyed the simple pleasures. Fortunately, you can find it here! Saturday, we are going up to my brother's house to celebrate a late Thanksgiving, only we will be making homemade tortellini instead of turkey. Happy Thanksgiving!