Truffles - Common as Muck

My big, beautiful, bounding Greyhound Coney has revealed that she is more than just a one-trick pony. Not only is she a champion racer and clumsy oaf extraordinaire, she also has an impeccable sense of smell.
Let me elaborate. For the last two or three days, she has been digging, almost mechanically at the stump of a tree up the lane where she is walked. As you do, we have been dragging her away, assuming that she was simply exhuming some bird carcass with a few leathery bits of scrawny flesh and feathers clinging to brittle bones. This morning though, I jokingly remarked to my husband “perhaps she’s unearthed a truffle”. What truth is mentioned in jest, for on her lunchtime walk I paid a bit more attention to her frantic scrabbling and saw that in fact she HAD unearthed a truffle. I picked up this lumpy, bumpy, tiny meteor-shaped fungus, maybe an inch and half in diameter, lightly brushed off the surface, inhaled deeply (but not too deeply, lest it be a desiccated doggy doo from 1950s) and was greeted with the aroma that I suspected truffles had all along: sort of like a mushroom combined with brothel. It is an incredibly distinctive smell and one that would probably put most people off trying truffles.
I excitedly pocketed the little black gem, continued walking the dogs, at a more frantic pace than usual as I was eager to get home and examine the truffle further. When I finally did get home, I brushed the dirt off the truffle with some kitchen paper (I read somewhere never to get them wet as with all fungi the flavour will be literally washed away), and sliced it open. Any doubts that this was not a truffle were swiftly allayed. Beneath the dark nubbly exterior the truffle was a creamy colour but alas, I could see that it was no good for eating, as it was spongy and there was the odd tiny maggot here and there, revelling in the exotic meal it had treated itself to. At least someone was benefiting from this rare delicacy: all my dreams of Risotto with thinly shaved truffle had been for naught. All the recipes that I had longed to cook but was unable to due to financial restraints disappeared in a puff of smoke.
Whilst it was a disappointment that the truffle was old, I have been informed that there will be others in the area and they are just beginning to come to fruition. Come August/September, there should be more fresh new ones ready for my girl to dig up, not quite knowing what she’s digging for, knowing only that she likes the smell. However, I have a feeling that she would prefer tinned Pilchards. Her favourite.

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