Tuesday, November 9, 2010 arrived with a clear early morning that promised to become a chilly, sunny, and typically autumn day. I zipped my coat, buckled my helmet strap, unlocked my bike, and headed off to work. A few minutes later, a garbage truck crossed a bike lane to make a right turn. I was in that bike lane. The tires of the truck crushed my left leg and caused other internal injuries. An amazing team of trauma surgeons saved my life, but they had to amputate my leg to do so.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Confucius.

In July 2011, I set off to walk a thousand miles as an above-knee amputee in my new prosthesis. The journey has held more twists, turns, and detours than I ever imagined.

I reached Mile 1000 on March 30, 2013.

But of course, that wasn't the end.

I'll keep walking!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Farm to Table

Mile Marker 4007:

If you're going to cook a mushroom, take my advice.  Don't name it.  No matter how cute it is.

It's opening day at the Old City Farmer's Market!

I run into Donna on my way.  She already stopped there, but she does an about-face to walk back with me.  She texts Mike to come along too.  What great walking buddies I have!

The market is small today -- only 6 stands -- but it's bustling.  The whole neighborhood is excited it's back in town.  If the Farmer's Market is here, summer can't be far behind.

Our first stop is a table full of mushrooms.  That's where I find this beauty...

(...along with Mike, the Photobomber!)

It's a mushroom as big as a cauliflower.  And it sits in my hand like a furry white hedgehog.  The farmer at the table calls it a Pom-Pom.

I'm in love.  How have I never seen these before?

"We're not here in the summer," the farmer says.  "The mushrooms don't like the heat."

Ah, I get it.  Mushroom weather and prosthetic weather are one and the same.  Today's cloudy and cool, ideal for both of us.  I knew we were kindred spirits!

I run my finger along the mushroom's ridged surface.  What looks like fur doesn't feel furry at all.  It feels like a mushroom -- but a mushroom that's been sculpted into Donald Trump's hairstyle.  (Only much, much cuter!)

I ask how to cook it.

"Pull it apart gently," the farmer says.  "Sauté it in oil."  He says it'll take on the flavor of whatever I add.

"I'm getting a pet mushroom!"  I tell Donna and Mike.

"Don't name it," Mike says.

We walk home with my treasure in a paper bag.  Unnamed.

I wasn't planning to cook a real dinner tonight.  It's already 6:15, and my socket is rubbing.  But now I've got this mushroom.  And I'm curious.

Plus, I'm energized by the Farmer's Market.  I head out to the balcony, where baby greens are ready to be picked!

I used to have a big garden at my house in South Philly, but after my accident, it became too much to handle.  I've downsized to a tiny balcony.  It has more potential than you'd think.

In just two flower boxes, this year's crops are growing strong:  rosemary, lavender, baby greens, sweet basil, and (hopefully) tomatoes!

Back in the kitchen, the greens go into a salad.  Frozen pesto goes into the microwave.  And that very cute mushroom goes into a cast iron sauté pan.

When I tug it gently, it pulls apart like the cottony tufts of a Dr. Seuss tree.

I stir in coconut oil, lemon verbena, and lemon thyme.  The mushroom gets toasty.  In minutes, it turns a color somewhere between pan-seared scallops and breakfast potatoes.

Now that's Farm to Table!

By now, you're probably wondering what the point of this cooking lesson is.

Usually I learn something new with each mile marker.  Come out with some greater understanding of the world, or myself, or life in general.

Mushroom Shwag!!
So what's the takeaway from Mile 4,007?   I'm not sure...

Try new things?
Appreciate the small?
Find beauty in nature?
Shop local?

Go ahead.  Help yourself.  Take whatever appeals to you.

That cute (and very delicious!) mushroom appealed to me.

Love mushrooms?  Mycopolitan Mushroom Company is a mushroom farm located in a Philadelphia basement!  Check out their website for more info!

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