eating dangerously

Tricholoma imbricatum

Next week I’ll tell you what I’m doing with all those apples, but today lets talk about mushrooms. When I was a kid, my mom used to come home from the golf course with her golf bag filled with mushrooms. They were a wide variety of shapes and colors. She claimed to be able to tell the good from the fatal by their smell, and I declare…she would cook up the most delectable stew that she and I would eat over toast. My dad declined the feast, claiming that there should be someone left behind to bury us. Well, yesterday was a perfect gardening day, and in the process we turned up the crop of mushrooms you see in the foreground of the above picture. The Chanterelles were a no-brainer. The little brown fellows gave us pause. R went in to consult the mushroom field guide. In the meantime, my thinking went something like this: If I eat just a tiny bit, it will merely make me feel not-so-hot. If nothing happens we’re good to go.

R came back with the news that these were probably Shingle Head mushrooms, or Tricholoma imbricatum (gardeners aren’t the only Latin-crazed cult). The only way to be sure, he had learned, was to take a tiny bit, hold it in the mouth for a maximum of 3 seconds and spit it out. If the mouth and tongue felt numbness, the “mushrooms” were throwaways. By dinnertime, I was still feeling fine, so I followed directions remembered from ‘Another Roadside Attraction’ by Tom Robbins: saute in butter with garlic, add a little wine and simmer until the steaks are medium rare. It was ambrosia for the gods. And I am still here today to tell you about it.

13 thoughts on “eating dangerously

  1. Wow, you’re a lot braver than me! I’d be with your Dad. We innoculated mushroom logs last year and got a few mushrooms a few months ago and I was worried when eating them even though I was pretty sure they were indeed the oyster mushrooms we’d planted into the log… I’m not sure I’d risk wild mushrooms…

  2. Like Linda I am in awe! A friend and I took a mushroom id class years ago. We drive out to a country setting and the instructor set us loose to see what we could find, it was great fun. Then we all gathered and he helped us id our treasures and taught us to taste just a bit if we were unsure. If it tasted foul it was a bad one…don’t eat it. Still I am not that brave, I love mushrooms but stick with the ones at the grocery store.

  3. Grace~They were

    Daphne~The wild ones have more flavor.

    Jane~Even the drawings in the field guide leave room for confusion. I keep meaning to go to one of those displays at the Forestry Center.

  4. wow – that’s cool! I really wish I could be a mushroom lover. There are so many types, and beautiful shapes, that I would love to be a connaisseur. Unfortuatnely, I don’t like the taste!

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