Curried Mushroom Barley ~ One Ring and a Smile
Sister Madly finds herself greatly miffed when the universe does not listen to a word she says.
It happened one summer a few years back. The Professor’s marriage had ended sometime ago, and he wanted to symbolically dispose of his wedding ring to celebrate his decision to move on with his life. His chosen method of disposal was to throw the ring into a mucky, mosquito-infested, most likely cancer-causing pond. Equally symbolic.*
*Some people call these things ‘wetlands.’ Sister Madly does not speak to these people.
While friends envisioned the Professor turning Frodo at the last minute and deciding to keep the ring, Sister Madly was certain he would end as Gollum by falling into the pond. Even though she was warming up to the idea, the pond was clearly a bio-hazard and she did not wish to be the one to fish the Professor out from the schools of free-range E.Coli.
And so Sister Madly proposed that he tie the ring to some balloons, and set it free.
While initially pleased with the suggestion, the Professor- whose idea of living it up is crossing against the light- began voicing his irrational concerns: power lines, airplanes, environmental issues, embarrassment. Seriously, Sister Madly, isn’t that littering?
Of course it’s not littering, Professor; it won’t be litter until it comes back down again. This way, you will never know where the ring lands, or whether someone finds it; you just watch it disappear. Besides, there is something liberating about releasing a part of yourself into the wind and watching it fly; it’s more than being alive, it’s feeling yourself live. Stop analyzing all the whimsy out of this.
She does not know how it happened, but it was decided that Sister Madly was in charge of obtaining the balloons. Being in the grip of a most audacious mood, she added to this helium bouquet a familiar face: a smiley balloon, one too cheery for its own good, which comes with the Devil built right in.
All along the way to the hilltop, the Smile haunted her rearview mirror, floated up beside her and even tried to take control of the wheel. Subsequent punches to that cheerful face proved ineffective, and resulted in flashbacks of the balloon that once stalked her through the house many years ago. Sister Madly took out the latter with a butter knife.
The balloon had the last laugh that night, but here was a chance for Sister Madly to even the score: just as the Professor was to leave behind his broken marriage, so would Sister Madly to a leave behind- by proxy- a more-or-less disturbing incident of her childhood.
There’s one thing to be said about for forest fires and smog: you get the most amazing sunsets. This is what Sister Madly had hoped to remember about that evening as the balloons were unleashed, mad and majestic- almost as majestic as that pine tree with which the bouquet decided to entangled itself.
Way to go, Sister Madly; that tree was probably the whole national forest. Not only will the Professor know what became of his wedding ring, the rest of the world will know as well. Soon the EPA will be hunting you down for defacing the ecosystem with a broken marriage and a Smile. If this is the best fortune that the gods can bestow, she’s crossing over to the dark side so fast…
“Well, Sister Madly, what do you say to that?”
Unfortunate, Professor. Most unfortunate.*
*The balloons eventually freed themselves, and were last seen drifting through the air in a serene, Zen-like reverie.
CURRIED MUSHROOM BARLEY
- 1 Medium Onion, chopped
- 1 cup Dry Barley, rinsed
- 5 Large Garlic Cloves, Minced
- 2 Bay leaves
- 2 tsp Marjoram
- 2 tsp Thyme
- 1/4 tsp pepper, or to taste
- 16 oz Sliced Mushrooms
- 5-6 cups Beef or Mushroom Broth
- 2 Tbsp Red Curry Paste
- 2 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
- Salt to Taste *
Sauté garlic and onions in butter/oil for 5 minutes
Add mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes
Add barley, marjoram and thyme, sauté for 3 to 5 minutes.
Add broth, curry paste, vinegar, bay leaves
Bring to a boil
Reduce heat and cover
Simmer until barley is tender, stirring occasionally (adding broth if needed) approx 1 hr.
Remove bay leaves and season with salt
* Curry paste can be salty; add salt at the end
POST’S THEME SONG: Wild is the Wind, David Bowie