Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Killer Case of the Hickeys

       In the early years of our marriage Sue was determined to please me in the kitchen as well as the bedroom. She cooked up a storm. There was one ingredient she added to her dishes that I was unaccustomed to. When I asked her about this mystery ingredient she said, “Those are mushrooms. Haven’t you had them before?”
      If I had, I was unaware of it. “My mother didn’t cook with them,” I said. 
     “What do you think?” She held a ladle of spaghetti sauce with mushrooms to my lips.
     “They’re great,” I admitted.
     In the years that followed I gorged on mushrooms: mushroom omelets, salads laced with sliced mushrooms, mushrooms stuffed with pork sausage, and steaks smothered with mushrooms sautéed in butter and wine. Sue was never as fond of mushrooms as I was and ate them in moderation, but it seemed that I couldn’t get enough. 
     A few years after my introduction to mushrooms, I broke out in a rash that looked like I had dozens of hickeys all over my body. I was horrified, although my reputation at work soared. When my hands and fingers became too red and swollen for me to wear my wedding band, Sue decided it was time for me to see a doctor. I grabbed the phone book and started making calls, but all the doctors I contacted had full appointment books, except for one.
     His office was located in an old Art Deco building in San Francisco, in a part of town that had seen better days. I took the elevator up to the eighth floor and stepped out into the most peculiar doctor’s office I’d ever seen. The lighting was uncharacteristically dim, but I could see that the place needed a good dusting and vacuuming. The walls were spotted with bizarre black and white photographs of performers dressed in outlandish costumes, and opera music rattled the walls. The chair behind the receptionist’s desk was empty.
     This hardly seemed like an appropriate place to seek relief from my rash. Just as I was about to hightail it back to the elevator a door slammed open and the fattest man I’d ever seen—Jabba the Hut in a white coat—entered the room. 
     He examined me from the far side of the empty waiting area. He clucked his tongue, shook his massive head and spoke with an indecipherable accent.“Stop eeting zee mushrooms! You eating too manies oof dem. I gots mee threee daughters, all oover threee huundred pounds. Youz married?”
     I could have politely answered the man’s question, but instead I bolted for the door and dashed down the stairs, not waiting for the elevator.
     That evening I reluctantly pushed aside a plate of Sue’s creamy mushroom risotto. I told her what the doctor said (not the part about his three daughters) and I cut back on mushrooms. The hickeys soon vanished. 
     In retrospect, I should have paid Dr. Jabba for his accurate diagnosis, but at the time I was worried I’d end up hanging on his wall encased in carbonite. Or worse, pawned off on one of his daughters.
     What food are you, or have you been, addicted to? Tell us about it.  


  1. Hi Stephen

    Just wanted to stop by and say thanks for leaving all the comments. I appreciate it.


  2. Oh, man, I didn't like mushrooms much before and now I'm even more opposed to them.

    If there's one food I'm addicted to, it's leftover pizza. Awesome story!

  3. I love pasta. With a passion but I rarely eat pasta. I know what it will do to my hips and other parts.

    Have a terrific day. :)

  4. Hmmm, they weren't some of those magic mushrooms, were they?

    When I was little, we kids were allowed to "reject" one food. For me it was always broccoli. Couldn't stomach the stuff. Funny thing is, now I like it!

    Now, for me, it's hamburgers. What do they put in that meat anyway?

  5. Can I just say that Mushrooms are my most hated food, them and onions... can't stand them!

    At the moment I am loving our local farmers market where we bought some excellent cobs of corn. YUM!

  6. Forget the food, let's talk about that doctor. Weird! I wonder if he was even a real doctor. Sounds like a front for him to find husbands for his daughters. Creeepy....

  7. Your post brought two things to mind when I read it. The first - that I really like mushrooms... and am happy I don't eat them as often as I'd like. Second - I remember that, as a small child, the pediatrician I saw had his office on Post Street, across from Union Square.

  8. Hi Steve. Love your blog! Love mushrooms. Unfortunately, or fortunately, love most foods. Lucky I don't have more hickeys. xox Debbie Ballanti

  9. This is great. Really funny but I know it wasn't funny at the time of the hickeys. Ha. Amazing that the doctor took one look and gave an accurate diagnosis. Sounds like you have had some interesting adventures in your life. I will have to return to read some more. I am visiting from the Goddess blog.

  10. Jabba the Hut in a white coat sure nailed that diagnosis! Maybe you misjudged him!
    Visiting from BPOW!

  11. I gave you one of my weekly Goddess Awards - great post!

    Stop by to collect it if you like.

    In joy,

  12. Awww :(

    I recently started liking mushrooms. For years I couldnt stand "zee texture"

  13. Definitely not mushrooms. I don't like cooked mushrooms which is a drag. Sue and I would not be compatible in zee kitchen. My addiction runs along the likes of chocolate. Currently soft pretzels. I'm sure if I were honest, my doctor would also tell me "Stop eeting zee pretzels! You eating too manies oof dem."