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:  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 share  (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!

Not sure what this is about? Read Getting Ready for the 250-Mile Diet and The Rules

Botany, Ballet, & Dinner from Scratch: A Memoir with Recipes by Leda Meredith

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6 responses to “Pre-Op Foraging & Post-Op Kitchen Navigation”

  1. acmeplant says:

    Not even a bum knee can keep you from foraging! Did I tell you I found black chanterelles in my front lawn? That’s right, IN THE LAWN! I dried them while I waited for Gary to confirm the i.d. and now I need to think of some spectacular way to use them that showcases the mushroom without masking the taste. Maybe I’ll combine them with some dried honeys and hens for a pasta mushroom extravaganza. Any suggestions?

  2. ledameredith says:

    I think the shroom extravaganza is a great idea, but I’d keep the pieces fairly large and any sauce very simple (maybe just olive oil, a touch of garlic, and grated cheese). That way you’d get to really taste the differences between the mushrooms in different forkfuls. Makes my mouth water thinking about it!

  3. Miriam says:

    You go…er… rest, girl! I’m happy for you about that mushroom. Susun Weed says that often the herbs we need grow right in our path. I guess this hen-of-the-woods was growing there because you needed to find it.

    I wish you a quick, speedy recovery!

    Miriam

  4. rhonda jean says:

    I just found your blog via another. I love the photo of you and your mum and the mushroom you found. Having my own problems with a knee at the moment, I sympathise and hope you are back on two feet soon.

    I’m glad you have friends around now that you need them. I’ll be back to read again.

  5. supereco says:

    I was wondering how your knee was. I saw your name on an upcoming foraging tour and I wasn’t sure if you’d actually be leading it.

    I know you won’t reveal your mushroom source, but I am amazed that you found it!

    My boyfriend and I noticed what might have been oyster mushrooms in Prospect, but we’d have to hop a fence in a very public area to get it. I’m not ready to get arrested for an oyster mushroom, just yet.

    Heal well!

  6. MollyT says:

    WhenI had foot surgery 18 months ago I found that a cheap office chair with wheels was great for getting around the kitchen. With both hands free I was even able to get my tomato, pepper, and eggplant seeds potted up.

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