energetics of food

Morel of the Story

foraging morel mushrooms eat local

I don’t quite have the words to capture the magic I feel in this place. Particularly in this rainy spring weather. The birds in chorus. The forest full with fresh greens. Moss covered trees. Fungi on everything. Damp bark, the clean, fresh air. Little tree frogs. Red tailed squirrels. A white tail frolicking away from us. The energy of trees that are hundreds of years old. The view of the river bluffs carved from the same glacier that made the ole Mississippi.

I’m at my dad’s (no longer working) farm, that has been in our family for almost 200 years. The farm land (consisting of corn and soybeans as crops) was sold a few years ago. What’s left? 150 acres of woods, creeks, ponds, and furry friends!

Sup lil brah

Sup lil brah

fungi on bark
I want his shell to be replicated into art for my home! So pretty!

I want his shell to be replicated into art for my home! So pretty!

An atmosphere perfect for foraging morels. Morel mushrooms are incredibly good tasting mushrooms that can’t be cultivated. They (seemingly) just grow at random during the Spring. They are native to the midwest– and they are fabulously yummy. I’ve only come down to the farm maybe twice before during this time of year. I remember coming as a kid, and being very disappointed in the process. My husband has a joke he loves to say, “Alexandra vs nature”– well imagine a young kid version of this. Bugs? Cold? Rain? Looking in dirt? Yeah not so ideal. But adult Alexandra, while still hating insects in my space, handles all of this much better. And in fact, I kinda love it!

fresh morel mushroom spring illinois midwest

Walking in the woods, listening to the birds, the crunch of the branches beneath my feet. It is very much a magical, meditative experience.

Then comes the actual search process. This is the part I am learning I am not so good at. I thought being so distinctive, I would have no trouble with this. Pattern recognition is my jam. Well, finding them is a pretty random game. There needs to be some sunlight, so that the land isn’t too moist. And they tend to be close to elm trees, but not necessarily directly under them. Lots of rain seems to help them to pop up, too.

I’m embarrassed that my initial thoughts made me feel like I was in a real life version of Zelda. Searching for any oddities or things out of place. I felt like I was pretty good at that. I found a tree frog, countless spiders, a deer antler, various other types of fungi, deer fur, and more. But the morels… a bit tougher. I found the first one of the trip, but my beginners luck ended there. The thrill of finding one is addictive. It feels like finding gold–nature’s gold, that is! 

My dad really seems to have a knack for it. Miraculously, on day 2, my dad found the hot spot of all hot spots. We found an area with about 100 morels! It was like hitting the jackpot. So so satisfying, everywhere we turned we could find one! So satisfying. 

This is beyond farm to table. This is natural food, uncultivated, just created because mother nature is incredible, then foraged and immediately put on the table. I’m beginning to understand the appeal of hunting. I’m much happier with being the gatherer in the hunter-gathering scenario though! 😅

I’m so thankful for the experience: for the connection to the land and my food! “Morel” of the story: I came back after 3 days having a much deeper appreciation for all that our mother earth provides for us! -AHS

morel mushrooms pike county illinois
morels on burger with spinach
morels with butter and white wine

How to Prepare morels

In terms of preparation- simpler is better! My step mom lightly breads them and fries them. A delicious option if you are into crunch! After cleaning them thoroughly (and I mean thoroughly!!!) I prepared them in a large pan. I heated them and let them release their water for a few minutes. With some of the mushroom juice still available I added several pads of butter, and white wine! They pair beautifully with pasta, steak, or even a burger!

morel mushrooms midwest fresh

The Energetics of Food

I just spent the past two weeks prepping food with my mother and aunt for Easter. It was exhausting, glorious, and 100% #notshedapproved.

Not even half of the tadalles we made!

Not even half of the tadalles we made!

We made these Italian biscuits/cookies/bagels(?) we call “Tadalles” (I think it is derived from the Italian Easter cookies, Taralli). Our family recipe differs from any other recipe I’ve ever seen for them though, which makes them even more special to us! I also helped make a taleggio cheese and mushroom lasagne; lamb stuffed with spinach, goat cheese, and garlic; carrot cake; appetizers; and more.

The food tasted amazing, but I think it has an extra special je ne sais quois that comes from the joy of cooking and preparations for our loved ones.

This is one of my more “woowoo” inclinations, but I believe the energy that you have when you prepare food gets served to whoever is the lucky eater. So when you’re cooking, I think it’s important to mind your attitude and try to make it a joyful, loving experience.

Along the same lines, if you choose to eat animals, I think the energy of the animal gets transferred to you! If those cows had room to graze, and were treated well, their happiness lives on and that’s what you absorb. If, on the other hand, they had a miserable existence and were crammed into small stalls with never any exercise or sunshine– I believe we absorb that energy too. When you view the world from this perspective, it encourages all of your eating decisions to be “soulful” and healthy! It broadens your viewpoint beyond just ourselves, but also to the experience of other life forms.

Traditional Chinese Medicine takes it to another level (see chart below!). Certain foods have certain energetic properties. Feeling anxious? Skip the alcohol and sugar! Have you been a running all over the place lately, super busy? Have some fish with root veggies for a grounding meal!

Why do we tend to crave root vegetables when its colder? Besides being more readily available, they are warming to the body! Why do we like salads and smoothies in the summer? They are cooling, and its what our bodies need!

Eating seasonally and locally helps us become in tune with the natural rhythms of the earth. Not to mention, some local foods can have awesome benefits only available to you– like local bee pollen! If you add it to your diet you have protection against some seasonal allergies! Growing your own food or purchasing from the local farmers markets helps to create connection to our food and locale.

Reprinted with permission from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.

Reprinted with permission from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.

Have you ever thought about the different ways foods can affect you? What ways will you take the different energetics of food into account as you prepare your meals next week?

  • Will you cook with love and mindfulness?

  • Source your animal protein from happy animals?

  • Go to your local farmers market?

  • Choose to eat or cook foods to help you round out your own energy?

I want to know! Leave me a note below or on social media! xx, AHS