After this morning's Litter Mob I wandered a bit to take pictures and stumbled upon a clipped lawn spotted with a semi circle of perfect little mushrooms. My heart went pitter patter. They looked just like field mushrooms. Which Ann Pig prepared in one of Alison Uttley's Sam Pig books. That made an impression on me and I have been waiting to eat them ever since! (Allison Uttley wrote wonderful books about talking animals. She hated Enid Blyton - so did my mother, who banned her books in our house - calling her a 'vulgar, curled woman.'
Field or meadow mushrooms (or pink bottoms) are Agaricus campestris, campestris from campus meaning: field. They are closely related to the button mushrooms we buy, which are Agaricus bisporus.
Another, notorious white-capped mushroom is the deadly Amanita virosa. It has white gills, not pale pink or brown, and a long stem which becomes bulbous towards the base. Young Amanita mushrooms look similar to edible species and this gets incautious people into very serious trouble. Or ends their troubles altogether. Personally, I would never eat a white-gilled mushroom, even though there are edible kinds.
The gills of the older mushrooms on the grass had turned dark brown. Safe.
I consulted Mushrooms of Northeast North America by George Barron, The Complete Mushroom Hunter, by Gary Lincoff, MushroomExpert.com, and my foraging group on Facebook (Steve Brill said they look delicious), but another forager who saw the images says not so fast, there are other Agaricus (A. xanthodermis - not deadly, but sweating, stomach cramps, and only for some people) that look very similar.
Finally, spore print: chocolate brown. Good.
They are what's for dinner. I think. Tomorrow. Maybe a small one, and if I'm alright in the morning, I'll scarf the rest!
8/18/11: Still alive and kicking after eating half a small mushroom last night. It was very good and obviously they are Agaricus campestris. I was 95% certain but that is not really good enough with shrooms. If the possible lookalikes had been deadly there would not have been a nibble.