Sometimes, our conversations at the teacher lunch table are not conducive to digestion. It's not like I expect a white tablecloth and candelabra, with a server hovering at my shoulder, towel draped over his arm. Nor do I expect that some members of my culinary crew have even a passing acquaintance with Emily Post. But when tales of cleaning up toddler vomit, and recounts of how everybody in the family had pink-eye, and even the dog awoke with the windows to his soul crusted shut, I feel like I'm entitled to draw the line. And I don't mean switch it to a debate as to whether pink-eye and conjunctivitis are kissin' cousins.
Thank the Gummi Mary, a new mouth joined us Friday. He swayed the talk to harvesting his own grub. Like puffball mushrooms. You know. Like he explained, "Those things in your yard you stomp on and dust puffs out."
"Wouldn't those be awfully dry?"
"Oh, you don't eat them after they're dried out. You get them when they're fresh. They should be solid, and white as bleach when you cut them open. If not, don't eat them!"
"I like mushrooms. But only the ones I find myself."
"I never trust anybody to find them in the wild. How do I know I'm not going to be poisoned because of their mistake?"
"That's why I find my own."
"That surprises me. You only eat three foods here."
"Yeah, from what they cook. But I eat a lot of stuff at home. Fish, turkey, deer, rabbit, squirrel...things I kill myself."
"I had some good rabbit the other day. I got six of them at the auction. They must have been handled a lot. Because when I took them out of the cage to kill them, they didn't even try to scratch me. They just sat in my arms. I almost felt guilty."
"You killed pet rabbits and ate them?"
"I don't know that they were pets. It's not like I ate white rabbits with black spots. They were rabbit-colored. They're so easy to kill! Just hold them by the back feet and karate-chop them on the back of the neck. They never know what hit them."
"You killed them with your bare hands?"
"I'm surprised they're not extinct. That they don't just keel over from jumping over a log and hitting their neck on something. They were delicious."
We're definitely in Hillmomba.