A few weeks ago I walked in on B looking at something very intently on my computer. Beads of sweat had formed on his brow. He looked up at me guiltily and I discovered that he is interested in a very peculiar type of website:
Or more precisely, morel mushroom porn. See, B grew up hunting morels in the forests of Indiana. Apparently, there are all sorts of backwoodsy folks in the US who do this sort of thing, and some of them reap the benefits fit for a king.
I joked that B had far too many teeth and far too little camouflage to consider these people his brethren. This apparently hit a nerve and he was explained to me in no uncertain terms that morel hunting, like lung cancer, is a proud part of his Hoosier upbringing. Over the past month or so, he has become increasingly obsessed with the forests surrounding Paris, weather and soil conditions, French morel hunting message boards, and where the morels originate that have been arriving at the Marché des Enfants Rouges (answer: Turkey). He’s developed what I’ve begun calling “the manic morel face,” a combination of childlike Christmas morning excitement grin with the deranged eyes of a pedophile.
So yesterday, some of us went out to Fontainebleau with the idea of hunting for morels. We packed quite an epic picnic. I did my part by spending a small fortune at the cheese counter at La Grande Epicerie, a decision that made me the most fragrant participant in la chasse. Long story short, we didn’t have any luck finding morels, but we did have a lovely afternoon drinking rosé, sunbathing, and exploring a beautiful forest. We also saw this:
Yes, that’s a swan nesting in front of the chateau. M snuck onto the grass to capture this shot, only to have a small band of authoritarian children gather at the edge of the trail and hiss “Pelouse interdite!” (“Grass is forbidden!”). Their terrifyingly early internalization of the Law was hysterical, and we spent the rest of the day joking about p’tits collabos. A great day all in all, though I wish I’d snuck a basket of morels in my bag to hide under trees for B. I’m sure that a seasoned morel hunter like him wouldn’t have been fooled for a second, but it might have taken the edge of the disappointment that overtook his face as the day progressed. I’ve been informed, however, that la chasse has only just begun. As Clarence is a big fan of a morel cream sauce on his filet mignon, I suspect that there are a few trips to Fontainbleau in my near future.
I’ve often thought it would be cool to have a truffle pig and treat that as a really tasty and lucrative side job. Not that I’ve ever even spent a significant amount of time in a place where that’s a possibility, but you know. Just daydreaming.
Is “Grass is forbidden” really the best translation of “pelouse interdite”? 😉