The always terrific Carol Blymire has a typically fun and photographically rich post up on her blog, Alinea at Home, about her successful attempt to make a dish of Oyster Cream with lychee, horseradish and chervil. You should read it here.
I love her recounting of the amusing grunt work that goes into rustling up ingredients. Here's an excerpt:
'So, as I made my grocery list, I knew I could get everything in one go.
Except I couldn't, because, go figure -- the one time I really need horseradish, no one had it. After the third grocery store attempt, I whipped out the Yellow Pages (I keep one in the trunk of the car) and called down the list of grocery stores within a 20-mile radius of my house.
Me: "Do you have fresh horseradish?"
Them: "Yes, we do."
Me: "Wait, not the kind in the jars, the horseradish root in the produce section?"
Them: "Yes, ma'am, we carry that."
Me: "Would you mind having someone check and make sure you have some now?"
Them: [exasperated] "Ma'am, that's unnecessary, we have it. We always have it."
Me: "Alright then. Thanks."
And I'd get to one of those grocery stores where they "always have it, ma'am" and lo and behold, the horseradish basket was a) empty, or on two occasions b) had horseradish root covered in mold with mushy, rotten spots all over.
It took my stopping at nine grocery stores over two days to find fresh horseradish.
All for a dish I wasn't even remotely prepared to like.
What did she think of the dish? Check out her blog and find out for yourself, it's a great read.