Pre-Op Foraging & Post-Op Kitchen Navigation
On Tuesday, the day before my knee operation, I was hobbling over to the pharmacy to pick up the prescription I’d need post-op. On the way, I spotted a beautiful hen-of-the-woods mushroom, a.k.a. maitake, a.k.a. Grifola frondosa. Crutches be damned, I managed to get it cut off at the base and into my backpack. When I got home I weighed it: two pounds. Not the biggest I’ve ever found, but not too shabby.
I had a long list of mundane tasks that had to get done before going to the hospital:Â change the cat litter, do laundry, take out the trash, etc. I added the task of cleaning and cutting up that hen and getting it into my dehydrator to my list. Fortunately, mushrooms dry quickly, and this one was crisp and ready to pack into jars well before I needed to leave for the hospital the next morning.
I feel especially blessed by this find. I’d been depressed about missing the fall foraging season because of my knee injury. Thanks to two pounds of free gourmet mushroom, I no longer feel like I missed the season entirely.
Meanwhile, my right knee has a new ACL as well as a repaired meniscus. I ain’t going foraging again any time soon. I’m spending most of my time hooked up to a machine called a CPM (for Continuous Passive Motion) that restores mobility to the knee. This is my friend Julie right after she brought me home from the hospital. She is gesturing towards my leg, in the huge black and blue brace, on the CPM. Yup, that’s a leg.
The first couple of days after the surgery I really didn’t make it much further than from the CPM machine to the bathroom, but this morning I felt a little better. I also have a refrigerator full of vegetables from yesterday’s CSA shareÂ (my friend Anne has been picking my shares up for me). I was starting to go stir-crazy and decided that I could take some time out from the CPM for a little cookery.
I am really, really glad right now that I have a tiny apartment! It is possible for me to reach from the refrigerator to the table without going anywhere. I put a cutting board on the end of the table closest to the refrigerator. While there, I can fill a pot with veggies. Then comes the question of how to get it to the stove because I can’t carry the pot and use my crutches at the same time. But I can reach from the table to set the pot in the sink, crutch over to the sink and from there lift the pot to the counter, crutch from there to the stove and reach over to move the pot from counter to burner. The end result today: a very nice potato leek soup. Now, of course, I have to reverse the whole process to get the leftover soup back to the refrigerator.
Fortunately, my friend Kendall is on her way over. Our stated mission for the evening: to have her wash, chop, and otherwise prep all the CSA produce in my fridge so that it won’t be quite such a marathon for me to make use of the ingredients while on crutches. Oh, and she’s going to cook dinner while I get back to the CPM machine. Bless my friends!
Botany, Ballet, & Dinner from Scratch: A Memoir with Recipes by Leda Meredith