Mushrooms allegedly have no nutritional value. I find this hard to believe but then there are a lot of delicious things out there that have no nutritional value. As a matter of fact, there are a lot of delicious things out there that are BAD for you! As far as I know, edible mushrooms aren’t bad for you. On any given day in the market you can buy at least one variety of mushrooms. On a good mushroom day in the market you can find three or four varieties! The most common mushrooms are oyster mushrooms or button mushrooms. For a few months in 2007 the people of Baguio (who buy their food in the market and not in SuperMarkets or groceries where the choices in fresh produce are so limited and where the chain from producer to consumer is way too long to really support small community farmers and fishers phew!) enjoyed The Portake (pronounced por-ta-kE) -- a cross between the portobello and the shitake (pronounced shi-ta-kE) mushroom. Thank goodness they didn’t call it the shitobello. But those have since disappeared from the market stalls like many other fresh foods before them. A great loss, if you ask me. My favorite mushrooms are shitake mushrooms! These have become increasingly rare and expensive. Once the price of shitake peaked at 140pesos for one-fourth of a kilo and this was for a very sad-looking pile of soggy things!!! The other day I chanced upon a beautiful pile of plump, unblemished, very fresh shitake going for 80pesos a kilo. I couldn’t resist! That’s still quite expensive but it was worth every savoury, succulent bite of that oh-so-tender mushroom meat sauteed in ghee with onions, tomatoes, and wild fern tips. (Purefoods just can’t beat that with a hotdog!)
P.S. I also bought the ghee (clarified butter) in a tight shop filled with exotic goodies tucked away in the hangar market. More on this magical store in my next Palengkera paragraph. But wait, do I really want to give away this secret? Hmmm... But Frankie might spank me.
P.P.S. Does anybody out there remember a children’s story with a tiger and a little boy and ghee in it?