Enjoy the magic, not misery, of mushrooms

By John Owen | Oct 03, 2013

Sure I like to hunt for mushrooms.  And, wow, I really stumbled across a find one recent, damp afternoon.

Understand, we mycophagists aren't about to give out a treasured location to strangers, but I can offer a hint. This particular batch of mushrooms was discovered in the Edmonds-Shoreline area.  I took a left at the dog food and a right at the coconuts and there they were!

Oh, yeah, some mushroom freaks insist that cultivated mushrooms are a poor substitute for their wild cousins, fresh from the woods.  But I am leery of mushrooms devoid of either a price tag or a guarantee from the Department of Health, Education and Welfare.

I almost invested in a few mushroom guidebooks until I read where some educated and experienced mushroom hunter ran for the stomach pump after an unfortunate encounter with some fungi found growing in an exclusive, gated community.

Then, periodically I would read an article urging you to join the growing legions in the woods in search of the "safe" mushrooms like chanterelle, crimini or portobello. And the last paragraph of the article adds:

"These mushrooms should not be confused with the Destroying Angel (Amanita verna) which is similar in appearance.  It is recommended that anyone who accidentally eats a Destroying Angel immediately sign a card donating his or her kidneys and liver to Group Health Hospital.   See you in the woods!"

I'll do my hunting in the supermarket.  At least I can complain to the manager if those babies on special at 89 cents a pound turn out to be fetid wood witch (also known as Stinkhorn.)

Mushroom Hunter's Brunch

Heat a third of a cup of olive oil in a skillet, add two chopped shallots, two crushed cloves of garlic, five slices of bacon, chopped, and some chopped parsley.

Saute over medium heat until bacon begins to chirp.

Toss in one pound of chanterelles, crimini or portobello mushrooms, quartered if they are biggies.  Stir and toss just until tender.  Season with salt, pepper, a teaspoon of thyme and the juice of one-half lemon.

Stir again quickly and then serve over dry toast.   I could eat the whole batch myself, unless the cook tried to slip some stinkhorn into the skillet.

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