I like mushrooms. I am searching for mushroom soup recipes right now and I got to thinking about the mushrooms I like.
Once in the fall on the foggy mountains of Umbria, I saw an old Italian man and his dog searching for the elusive and potently tasty black truffles. It was truffle season and soon the entire mountain would be covered with aged Italians with wisdom gathering this bounty from the ground.
Once, my husband and his friend and I went searching for tree mushrooms. They are known as oyster mushrooms and they are edible. Though they can be tough, if you cook them in broth and butter for a while, plus garlic of course, they were supposed to be tasty. Our friend had learned about which mushrooms were poisonous but he wasn’t typically a pay-attention type, so this was a big adventure for us, both gathering food direct from the earth and also relying on our scatterbrained friend to tell us which shrooms were safe to eat.
Once in Maine outside my office, a humongous mushroom grew on a tree. It was not an oyster mushroom. We called our friend the mycologist Sam Ristich and he came over and told us about the mushroom. It was a polyporus squamosus, also edible. We didn’t eat it. We just admired it. Until it grew so large it fell off the tree and then the snow came and covered it up.
Last fall we had days and days of rain. A mushroom patch sprung up under the tree. They were pretty mushrooms, unlike the oyster or dryad’s saddle. They were perfect delicate little white mushrooms. I wanted to eat them in the worst way but I think they are poisonous. I believe they are from the amanita family and this genus has names like Destroying Angel and Death Cap. In my imagination I thought that the elves and fairies would live there and I called it Mushroom Town.
Here are the mushrooms I have known. Two photos are from Maine and the rest are from my yard in Georgia!