Roughly seven this evening the power went. Fifteen minutes later the man from down the road came to see if we were OK. Rubbish, he wanted a decent coffee and to escape from his wife. Less than ten minutes later somebody else came. Similar story. We have those little Italian espresso makers that come in a dozen sizes and the smaller they come, the stronger the coffee, so there we were production-line-wise with the little ones at the gas stove.

The first who turned up is a retired chef. He has worked in hotels and restaurants all over France, in England, Belgium and for a while in the USA. The other man is still a chef, he has his own place but was not opening up with no power so decided to go out for a while. He has been around too. Cruise ships, hotels and a couple of restaurants of his own.

I happened to say that walking our dogs down at the bottom of our field it smells to high heaven of fungii. They ought to come looking for them some time. So we got talking about them. We discussed the merits and demerits of different types and what to do with them. Then the older said that he did not actually like mushrooms himself. In response the other said more or less the same. Then they were talking about the fact that they do not really know people who really LIKE them. Then it moved on to both thinking that most people do not care too much for them but it is the collecting and mystique attached and all that that makes them so popular. Somehow or other there is some kind of competition to like them more than the other person although none of the people really want them at all. It was fascinating. My OH comes from the foot of the Alps in an area where Italian scavengers come by the truckload to hunt for them and the entire family does its best to get their first. They are highly prized. I make a champignon soup that the family request, so obviously like. But thinking about it I had to wonder...

Do people really like them or not? Not a life and death question but and interesting revelations from people who have made a career of cooking, including those particular vegetables.

Thanks for the link. There's a lot of useful stuff on that site!

Easy to make Dave. See

Now you need never go without a bhaji

I'd kill for a decent mushroom bhaji. Apart from that I'm not fussed.

I, incidentally, am never known to say no when somebody passing offers us a plastic bag full....

No way snob cooks, these are very ordinary men who never made it big time in the sense that they would get that way.

Diven’t worry Ben, they’ll be gone by tomorrow lunchtime;-)

Oh my god! "Cèpes" in a fridge?!! Get them out of there, they'll rot away in no time! Wooden box and a damp cloth should do the trick just nicely.

@ Brian: am an omnivore funghifile by nature, honed my skills in searching them whilst being tutored by bent old people who spoke an dialect even my wife can't understand.... Yes, there's mystery, chance, the idea of searching your own food. But there's also definitely the culinary pleasure of transforming them into the most delicious meals. Guess that as a professional chef (or any other person for that matter) you don't have to like them, but that doesn't necessarily mean that mushrooms are no good. Maybe they've been exposed too much to the stuff and, this is known to be a professional hazard, got their taste butts numbed. Just for my info: these guys are not the sort of snob cooks who talk about produce as "not being too interesting"?

I’m a fungi fan. Love em., but don’t count on me to find em. I can smell em, but never see the fellows.

Our two pals there might not have been best impressed. It is an interesting question though. I quite like them but the fuss about the 20 squillion different varieties and which one is best, flavour, yah-di-dah is weird because the tastes are not that far apart between them. I have eaten them all over the world and the vast majority of them are cooked into oblivion anyway...

Got home and found this in the fridge