April 17, 2008

"Button Mushrooms"

Oil on Museum quality, Archival 1/8" ampersand gessobord panel - 6" x 6"

 "One piece makes you larger, and one piece makes you small, and the ones that mother gives you don't have any taste at all."  I'm paraphrasing Lewis Carroll (and Grace Slick) but those of us who grew up in the 50's probably never saw a fresh mushroom.  Oh, maybe we nibbled a rubbery one in the chow mien from some mediocre Chinese carryout. (remember, this is the 50’s - there won’t be a Szechaun restaurant for years).  Perhaps, just perhaps, a daring, adventurous mother might have thrown some canned ones in her spaghetti sauce, but never a fresh one.  I didn't see a mushroom, culinarily speaking, until I left home.  The late 60's were an eye opener for me in many ways.  I was a geek and a freak and an avid J.R.R. Tolkien fan.  He imbued his hobbits with a passion for mushrooms far surpassing the big folk and I had to try them.  Try them I did and I, too, grew to love them as much as Frodo and Sam. I put them in everything and on everything.  I made a dish called "Gruel" which was not a thin porridge, but a hearty-tomato based stew chock full of mushrooms that was the basis for many a party in my starving artist days at my Stafford Road studio.  I was represented by the Gallery 306 in Philadelphia in the 70's and I often drove through Kennett Square, PA to deliver paintings to them.  Kennett Square is home to the Wyeth Museum and more importantly;  the Phillips mushroom farm, also know to me by its other name - Nirvana.  They had mushrooms the size of hamburger buns which they sold by the basket for not much money.  Hitherto, I had never seen a portobello mushroom and this was a revelation. Sadly, they did not stock or cultivate psylisybin mushrooms, another fungus gaining popularity at the time...and so we come full circle - back to Wonderland. 

"The time has come," the Walrus said,

"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."


Deb O said...

I'm so glad that I'm Southern. Some of my fondest memories are eating breakfast with my dad. My two favorites were/are fried shad and shad roe and a wonderful concoction that involved sauteed fresh mushroons in white sauce on toast. Yum.


Mark Adams said...

I'm a crazy artist, so I have an excuse. What are you doing up at 3:00 am?

Diane said...

The question is what are the two of you doing up at 3am???? Mushrooms?

Mark Adams said...

¿Por Qué No?

S.M. Sedwick said...

Chuckles. Great post, great painting!

Deb O said...

I don't have to get up early any more and I;ve always been a night person. I love being retired!!!

Deb O