Sunday, December 30, 2012

No recipe for living.

The past two days have been really nice weather-wise, especially today, with temperatures in the mid 50s and lots of pleasant, albeit wintry, sunshine.  I have spent as much time as possible outdoors with the Vinodogs, performing miscellaneous garden chores, e.g. pruning Vinoland's rose bushes - all seven of them. Northern California experienced a rather moist autumn which has resulted in abundant weed activity and lots, and lots, of mushrooms.  I think this year's fungi goings-on are the most I have ever seen.  I like to admire all the different types of mushrooms with their different forms, the way they age, the fairy rings they create, but that's it.  I am content with the entertainment garnered merely by observing their fun-guy life cycle.
Each and every mushroom season the Bay Area news outlets report of at least one fatality from somebody eating poisonous mushrooms, making it necessary to tack on a reminder to mushroom foragers about the dangers of consuming unidentified, or, more often than not, misidentified 'shrooms.  When these to-be-avoided woodland fungi often come with names like Poison Pie, Sickener and Deadly Conocybe, the average person could probably assume that there is a need for some caution when perhaps considering whipping these things up into an omelette.  I could be being a tad cynical when I say that maybe it's just Darwinism at work - except that this year, a caregiver at an old people's home, near Sacramento, killed four residents when she served them up Death Angel mushroom soup.  Like some modern day Typhoid Mary, the caregiver has been banned from working with and preparing food for the elderly ever again. Good call.
The past couple of months I have spotted many a mushroom popping up all over Vinoland, including the varieties Meadow Mushroom, Artist's Fungus and Sulphur Shelf.   However, the majority of the mushrooms in Vinoland seem to be of one species, Paxillus involutus, the Common Roll-rim which, yes, can be fatal if ingested - otherwise they merely destroy red blood cells and cause renal failure, that's all.  The Paxillius are rather large, fleshy mushrooms and it isn't too hard to imagine them chopped and tossed into a stir-fry and paired with a nice Nebbiolo.  I, for one, am not looking to make a little mushroom concoction my last supper. I'll just admire them from afar.

4 comments:

NHwineman said...

Very good to see our mycological resplendent V-girl back (up) from the garden chores.
My half-witted understanding is that if Milk-thistle is given soon enough and in large doses, in many cases it can help the poisoned recover from fungal poisoning (attacks the liver).
However, and though I've eaten several wild species of mushrooms, chance cannot enter into the equation, and only certainty is acceptable.
One more thing, since last I heard, there is something like 1,000,000 species of 'mushrooms', they can easily appear different in different geographical locations. So, if I'm in Cali, I don't eat any wild mushrooms at all.

Thomas said...

1 million species of mushroom? All I can say to that is: WOW!

Vinogirl said...

NHW: It's a good job I have a million milk thistles growing in Vinoland then isn't it?

Tomasso: Wow indeed! I don't think I'd cut it as a mycologist.

Thud said...

Any chance of that caregiver nipping over and fixing supper for mum?