I had a dream last night that seems like it might be relevant to our fellow interests, reader, so I’ll share it here.
I was at the home of a witch, a farmstead somewhere with black-barked trees and pale clay soil. I was talking with her about how she trains her students, and she mentioned that one thing she does early on is invite them to dinner where the main dish she’s prepared is a big plate of mushrooms. It can be any edible mushroom, but one unfamiliar to the student is best.
I think in the dream she was making some Chanterelles in cream sauce, which I have eaten before. I’m not really a mushroom fan, but these are on the short list (along with Morels, Hen-of-the-Woods, and King Oyster) of Mushrooms I Will Definitely Eat.
Anyway, she was explaining that one of the reasons for consuming this Hobbit-feast was to help get the student over any fear of “ooky,” unfamiliar things and for them to develop the willingness to give things outside of their comfort zone a go. You don’t like mushrooms? You’re a picky eater? Too bad. As long as you’re not allergic, you’re eating them. Bonus points for being gracious and not whining overmuch.
Plus, she went on, they are a food that partakes of the nature of the Other, of the energies of both Life and Death at once, and they’ll help waken your latent abilities for seeing and dreaming, and riding the hedge.
I don’t remember if I sat and ate, or if I was only passing by, but it was a fruitful conversation nonetheless.