Our mushrooming adventure in a nearby pine forest, and our discovery of glow-in-the-dark mushrooms, mushrooms with sugar on top (avoid eating these), saffron milkcaps, and some strange brown mushrooms that someone thought were slippery jacks. We ate the edible mushrooms, of course, with special love for the saffron milkcaps.
“Did you know this one glows in the dark?”
The forest knew. It saw the faint green display every night. What a pity these guests won’t stay long enough to enjoy it too.
“This one’s pretty. Someone sprinkled sugar on it!”
Yes it is pretty. I too would shriek on seeing this for the first time. What’s sugar?
“DON’T TOUCH THAT!”
A deeper voice this time. Why so loud?
“What about this orange splotchy one?”
That shriek, again. It’s so loud and high for such a little creature, but it’s a break from the peace and quiet here.
“They’re good,” said the deep voice. “Pick them carefully so they don’t bruise.”
Pick them? The forest shuddered. They’re my gems; I don’t really want to lose them.
The voices tumbled over each other as each found a new treasure.
“Here’s another one.” “Well done, put it in the bag.” “What about this? There’s only a little sugar and it’s orange.”
“DON’T TOUCH THAT. IT’LL MAKE YOU SICK. LEAVE THE SUGAR MUSHROOMS ALONE.”
“Okay,” a tiny, tiny shriek barely rose above the forest floor.
“What about this? It’s brown. There’s no sugar.”
Do they not know this one? The forest sighed again. So ignorant. It was a wonder these invaders didn’t starve to death.
Silence. Have they forgotten how to shriek?
Then another voice, a new one.
“I think it’s a slippery jack. Dry it, and then you’ll think it’s an expensive dried porcini.”
Another voice, as more of these invaders gathered.
“I wouldn’t eat them. I tried cooking them once; they turned to a gooey mush.”
The deep voice had the last word.
“I’d feel safer if it came from the supermarket. You can have it.”
Disclaimer: We were not the poor souls who ate the death cap mushrooms. The consensus is that the victims were too embarrassed to admit what they’d really done: eat wild mushrooms they weren’t sure about. Woolworths, our local supermarket, was cleared of supplying death caps. The story does does drive home a very important point in mushrooming:
If you don’t personally know what it is, don’t pick it and don’t eat it.
This article is not giving advice.If you pick a mushroom, or even buy one, and then you eat it, then you do so entirely at your own risk.
In case you’re wondering, here are some ways of preparing mushrooms, with special love for the saffron milkcaps.