I began at the store. I stood in the unfamiliar area of the produce section (the section that holds the things). They started to swarm me like Hitchcock creatures. I needed help.
I found the oldest person in proximity. I asked her to teach me about mushrooms. In a very thick german accent, tells me the portabellas were good to marinade and grill. Tells me about the others that she and her daughter used to find in the forest, didn't have them at the store. Can make a nice sauce with those.
So I grab a pack of baby portabellas (they are right in the middle. That was how I chose). My plans are to use Julia's recipe. A trusted ally confirmed that they are the best. I sautee them in pounds of butter. I don't overcrowd the pan. I let them brown. I add shallots. I deglaze with brandy.
I eat them. I make other people eat them. "Yeah, this is how they should taste. But, you know, on a steak or something. Not just on their own." We watch "Gaslight." I think I'm crazy to try and convince myself of liking the thing I don't.
Next I eat a burger, sans bun, with bacon and cheese. Mushrooms under cheese and bacon are great. They taste just like bacon and cheese. Crazy.
I also try Chinese take out. Beef with fresh mushrooms in brown sauce with vegetables. I don't like. I put mustard all over. I like mustard. I don't like when they pop between my teeth.
Am starting to get concerned with the nutritional content of mushrooms.
I go to a restaurant in town. I drink a lot. I ask if I can just get a side of the most popular mushrooms and steak with sauce, hold the steak. Drumroll, and wowza.
I like these. I actually want to eat them like they are a food. I ate almost the whole bowl. So my conclusions so far: I am still terrified, but I have had good experiences with porcinis.
Neophobia in regards to food is that you need to try a new food at least 13 times before you like it. I will continue trying and doing math. Please send more ideas and recipes.