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.