Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Funky fungi

Growing in the huge wood chips of Sara D. Roosevelt Park, under the dead alliums and living gingkos...

Flies like them.

Anybody?

And no, this is one wild thing I will not be taking home for dinner. Though I have established that I am, at heart, a mushroomer. I like the rain. Nothing would please me more than foraging somewhere for morelles or chanterelles. A wonderful essay by Jim Barg on mushrooming in edible Jersey's Fall 2008 edition confirmed this.

One damp day in the pine forest of Tokai in Cape Town, I and my chestnut horse Cromwell came upon a massive patch of pine rings (Lactarius deliciosus). They went down the front of my white, long sleeved shirt and we carried them home proudly for dinner. That became a favourite foraging spot for years. The flat, apricot caps were unmistakable, but just in case, the stems were sliced with a sharp knife to reveal the distinctive ring.
It was a happy day when we discovered that the deadly-looking shaggy ink caps were edible. The young white ones like marrow on toast, with butter and a squeeze of lemon.

And the walk on the koppie across from our house in the Free State, when I was very little. My father and I spotted, beside the rusted barbed wire fence separating public land from the state president's residence, two huge cream-capped mushrooms with brown gills. A good sign. We picked them and my mother pronounced them "horse" mushrooms. She cooked them for my father, but would not let me eat them.

Better a dead husband, apparently.

Info (Why? There are old mushroomers, there are bold mushroomers, but there are no old, bold mushroomers):

7 comments:

  1. All this rain is gonna turn us all into mushrooms!

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  2. I strongly object to the last sentence!

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  3. I'm pretty sure they're stinkhorns, Marie! from the family Phallaceae *g*. Here's a really fun site about them http://www.mushroomexpert.com/phallaceae.html

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  4. phallaceae is right! How phallaceous. I've seen these before, stinky-flies like the "dead meat" odor

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  5. Quiltcat's nailed it. Definitely not to be added to the menu.But not quite in the same league as the "dead horse" lily.

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  6. Pine rings - oh yum. Due to undesirable elements, I never go there now. Did find a few under a single pine tree, one street away.

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  7. Lisa - yes. But I don't mind!

    Beence - different times :-)

    QC - thank you! ...and eugh...

    Frank - I ain' never seen them.

    MIT -yech!

    Hen - take my other brother's rottweilers. If they don't eat you first you should be OK.

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