I would like to open today’s post with a public service reminder. The reminder is about the fact that while I am always glad to have wild mushrooms arrive in my fridge by a happy accident, you must never bring any mushrooms home that you have not either bought from a supermarket, or picked knowing them to be non-poisonous.
With that off my conscience, I ought to explain the ‘ambush’ part of the title. You see, while I love wild mushrooms and whenever I know a spot, gleefully pick them as much as I have time to, this time I hadn’t set out to pick mushrooms at all. In fact, I hadn’t even gone to a forest. Instead, two days ago, after moving into our new apartment with the last of suitcases, I had grabbed T and decided to march 2km to the nearest large supermarket for such prosaic things as a wireless router, a bottle of distilled vinegar to disinfect and clean the fridge in the new apartment, some laundry detergent, and a few boxes of milk. Imagine my happy surprise when on the way to the supermarket I chanced across a newly-grown birch bolete just by the side of the sidewalk (a bit away from the actual driven road – the sidewalk is separated from it by a tree strip). I picked the mushroom carefully, stuck it in my bag and continued onwards to the shopping centre.
In the supermarket, I bought things as necessary, grabbed a spare plastic baggy and carefully put the shroom on top of my shopping for the way home… and that is when the rest of his age-mates have ambushed me, and I had no choice but to gather them all up, put them in the same bag, and march triumphantly home. I hadn’t weighed them, but they are all young and firm, so they may have been as much as half a kilo or even more altogether – and without any worms, which is a rarity for boletes (they are delicious – insect larvae think so, too).
If this is a sign of things to come, I say, let them keep going in this manner. I take this as a sign of welcome from the local forest deities, and shall offer sacrifices. In fact, since I am not yet unpacked enough to experiment, but do know where my quinoa is, and actually have some locally-grown sunchokes (topinambours), I will recreate Mushroom, Quinoa and Topinambour Salad I’d written for Ping’s Pickings what seems ages ago – with wild mushrooms instead of white button ones. The original is a lovely thing in itself, but adding the wild mushrooms into the mix cannot be anything but a good thing.