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May 6, 2008 06:40 PM

Jamie in the forrest with Gennaro?

I've always loved watching this guy because he seems so natural in the kitchen. He just seems to cook and season by feel. This weekend, however, it was a little over the top. He and Gennaro, bundled up for cold weather, and took a walk into the forrest to pick and cook wild mushrooms. They actually cooked in the forest over a fire, and came prepared with seasoning, cooking equipment and pre-made toast. There was even a scene in which Gennaro had Jamie propped up on his shoulders so that Jamie could reach a fungus growing high on the bark of a tree, presumably to be the star ingredient in his risotto.

Anyone else find this a little peculiar? Let's face it, I can't walk into the nearby woods to pick my food, unless I am planning on eating landscape specimens. It was fun to watch, I will admit, but a little weird for me. Maybe a little more focus on easily obtainable ingredients?

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  1. I was definitely different. My favorite part was when Gennaro handed Jaime a wooden spoon and Jaime immediately responded, "This is a rubbish spoon". I thought that was great.

    But, I hear you...not only are you not likely to go into the woods for mushrooms, you should abosulutely NOT do it. Jaime was smart to say that as well. Unless you are a pro, it is really dangerous to pick your own.

    However, I would hate if he started looking at more "normal" ingredients like Beef, Chicken and Salmon. I love that he cooks Venison and Rabbit. I am so sick of seeing the Food Netowrk cooks prepare Sirloin, Pork Chops and Chicken Breasts.

    How about Whole Monkfish (including the liver and cheeks)? Or Squab? Or Lamb Kidneys?

    God, I would love that.

    1. However, don't forget that wild mushrooms are pretty common in the supermarkets during the season - and farmers markets often have specialist growers of cultivated "wild" mushrooms. You don't have to go looking yourself.

      And anything with Gennaro Contaldo in has to be good. The man is a cooking god - and I love his restaurant.

      1. Cooking shows are aspirational. I'm never going to have Jamie's life _ either his real one or the one portrayed on the show. But I can dream. And I can try to recreate the recipes. Those mushrooms looked great.

        6 Replies
        1. re: NYCkaren

          I don't find the idea of going out in the woods and foraging for mushrooms all THAT unusual! I grew up with family members who did it regularly. Sadly, I never liked mushrooms as a kid and didn't have any interest in learning what I could and couldn't use. I just liked going into the woods. That said, if I KNEW the difference between a morel and a false morel, I'd be in heaven right now--it's morel season in michigan and they grow wilds in the woods and people's yards. I highly recommend learning what's edible in the landscape. As the food price and supply crunch continues, knowing more about food in your landscape may return as a common practice.

          1. re: dingey

            Dingey, I imagine the original poster knows that plenty of people forage for mushrooms in the woods. But most of them bring the mushrooms home and cook them. They don't cook them in the forest.

          2. re: NYCkaren

            "or the one portrayed on the show"

            It is, IMO, one of the disappointing and unnecessary developments of recent UK cookery shows that the chef/cook now has to be given a life/friends/personality. See also Delia/Nigella/FWord/Anjum/AdNausuem.

            Just cook. It's all I want you to do. Just bloody cook.

            1. re: Harters

              Harters, it's show biz. That's just the way it is. Jamie at least seems more real than most of the others. (I'm a Nigella fan but the fakeness of her latest show is grating.)

              1. re: NYCkaren

                Be thankful that you don't get Delia on the western side of the pond ( ta least I don't think you do). Be very very thankful. Had you got her recent "cheat" series, you would know the full gruesome meaning of the word "grating".


                A thread that exercises restraint in language - unlike a number of other websites

                1. re: Harters

                  You're right, we don't get Delia. But I've heard about the "cheat" series from UK friends on another board. It does sound awful.

          3. I really like J.O's new show, it's always very rustic. I love that he cooks alot outside in his wood burning oven and such. Even the small space he uses inside is very rustic, it just gives the whole show a warm feel to it. As far as foraging for 'shrooms out in the woods, while I would never do it 'cause I don't know what I'm doing, there are plenty of people that do, and I think it was cool that he and Gennaro cooked them up right there in the woods. It was like camping out for the day. If I had the knowledge and the little cooker thingy, I'd love to do the same thing. I really don't see what is so bizaar or over the top about it, nothing wrong with getting out and enjoying the fresh air, good to get the cobwebs out.