Perhaps there will be morels

We rang in the New Year to the sounds of light sabers and that most famous of John Williams scores. The “extravaganza” (for our kids, that meant watching the three original movies over the course of two days) was preceded by all the usual holiday diversions: a baking blitz and food deliveries, the ten-dollar gift-giving challenge (my big win: copper cookware for both my mom and her sweetheart), a post-Christmas house party that was great fun even if no one drank the beer, and a three-day sojourn to Portland with our requisite visit to the pool where now both the kids can zing solo down the giant water slide. 2013 is official. Now the confetti can settle.

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I don’t have resolutions, or even a guiding word, for the new year. But thanks to some long mornings over the break and stretches of time when the kids were either cooking breakfast in my mom’s basement apartment or nesting, somewhere, in their new sleeping bags, I do have two more books under my belt.

A good book is a hearty stand-in for a resolution anyway: Langdon Cook’s adventure foraging in Fat of the Land will have me thinking all year about shad, spot shrimp, and baking with dandelion blooms.

The few morel hunters who’ve openly admitted to the pastime have smiled silently when I’ve hinted that I’d love to come along. So let’s say that persuading someone to let me join them for a morel outing would be a good goal for the year. That would be for the spring. In the fall, I’ll try to carve out time, even once, when Anne or Chris emails me the night before to ask me to join them to hunt chanterelles.

My food frontiers look a little lank next to those of someone who freedives for lingcod with a trident-tipped spear. But I hear his new book makes mushroom hunting look anything but cowardly. My new dehydrator is waiting and though it may seem domesticated compared with learning to fly fish for steelhead, the prospect of broadening my repertoire by filling it with wild mushrooms is enough to cast the year in a promising light.

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