Mushroom Substitute

By Oscar, Cargilfield School, aged 12

My. Sister. Hates. Mushrooms.

No kidding. Hates mushrooms.

She also has keen mushroom spotting eyes, which are very good at mushroom spotting. Actually anything we have tried, she always spots the mushrooms.

Five minutes with any meal and she’ll pounce on them and…

“Oscar are there Mushrooms in this?”

Hesitation on my part. Immediate disgust from her.

“No there aren’t any mushrooms.”

Her, suspicious, prods any lumps in her meal (or if there aren’t any lumps she just generally prods).

“You sure…?”

Oh no… The big reveal!

“Then what’s this?!”

She pulls out the one browny-grey lump in the meal that is a mushroom.

Hesitation again.

Come on me, think. Make her eat the mushroom thinking it’s something else, anything. She needs to eat her mushroom and I need her to eat it so I can leave.

“It’s a Mushroom

I think I have something!

“It’s not a mushroom, it’s a mushroom substitute.” Oh no…That sounded terrible out loud. What if she stops eating at all because mushroom substitutes can be made from anything…?

“So it’s not a Mushroom?

“No.” So tense, I didn’t think this through. “It’s what we put in meals to make you think it’s a mushroom but it’s really not” I’ve failed. I will be punished. My parents gave me this role because I am better at it than them. They have camembert every Saturday evening.

Roo doesn’t like that either.

I only get Camembert if we both eat all of our meals.

My. Sister. Hates. Mushrooms. And camembert.

It’s mushroom night tonight. Everything else is fine but mushrooms. Mushrooms are the devil in her meal.

“Go on try it. It doesn’t taste like mushroom”

Still suspicious. “What’s it made of then?” She has a degree in annoying questions.

Oh dear, this isn’t going well. Worse than normal. What have I done?

“It’s made of…” Hesitation again. She’s still suspicious. “Potato, it’s made of potato. Try it.”

“I don’t like potato”

Hesitation, and I’ve lost.

My. Sister. Hates. Mushroom. And camembert. And potato. There’s the full phrase. The pressure of my sister’s stare has made me forget.

I’ve failed.

Please have mercy on me for I have failed to do your bidding all powerful parents. I think.

Sadness washes over me like a mushroom over Ruby.