I’ve been working, in the past few years theoretically and since moving to Ohio in particular, to expand my cooking repertoire.
It is somewhat easier now, since I work in a library, and every couple weeks I go downstairs and check out a new cookbook. And there have been some successes that I’ll be adding to my rotation.
And then there’s mushroom risotto.
It seemed like a good idea at the time. The recipe seemed well within my abilities, and the ingredients seemed to be like they’d taste good together.
The first problem: Risotto is a pain in the ass to make.
There’s a lot of chopping and cooking before the risotto, which is a bit annoying but not the worst thing that’s ever happened. But then you add the risotto, which isn’t actually risotto at this point—just “arborio rice,” which is a polite way to say “petrified Satan’s droppings.”
Then you add a little bit of liquid and stir. For, like two hours.
And then, when that liquid is absorbed, you add more liquid and continue to stir. And you repeat this, and continue repeating it, and then continue repeating it, for a total of about 37 hours.
Seriously. I was watching Netflix on my phone and ran out of Law & Order to binge. I had to turn to The Ranch to avoid going mad from the rhythmic clanging of wooden spoon against pot, after which I yearned for the clanging of metal pot against my skull.
How delicious does that look? If your answer was, “Not very,” you are right. It looks like something that came out of a cat’s front end and back end simultaneously.
But even things that don’t look good might taste okay. So after two full Netflix series of prep, how does it actually taste?
It tastes like slightly chewy goo, with just a hint of mucilage and a soupcon of mush. The flavor is nothing but texture, and there’s not even much of that. You chew it, and eventually it goes down your throat, but you won’t ever be certain when the transition from “chewing” to “having swallowed” takes place.
It’s also vegan. You could tell that from approximately three hundred miles away.
To sum up: Don’t make mushroom risotto. It will make you sad.