Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Be vewwy vewwy kwiet...

...We'ah hunting mushwooms!

It's almost mushroom season. I have been mushroom hunting since I was eight years old. Morel mushrooms are a very rich, meaty mushroom that grows all over the US (I even found one once when I was living in Alaska) They resist cultivation so if you want them, you pretty much have to find them.

They tend to pop up in early to mid-May. But we've had some very warm and fairly wet weather recently and I'm hoping to get into the Woods very soon!

I've never gone mushroom hunting here in Illinois, so I don't know the hottest spots. And no true mushroom hunter would tell me unless I were related to him, and probably not even then.

Mushroom hunters are a cagey bunch. They jealously guard their prime spots.

I rememeber once finding a mother lode while hunting with my dad and brother. We found dozens of morels in the center of a dying peach grove. The ground was just covered in them and we filled all of our bags. I found the first one. And then my brother found one and then I found another and then we stopped and took a look at the big picture and realized that the whole ground in this small circle of dying fruit trees was covered in the precious little beauties.

As we were leaving the woods, returning to the car, two men had just parked and were clearly getting ready to hunt for mushrooms themselves. My dad hissed at us to hide our fungal booty and when the two new-comers asked us if we'd had any luck, I opened my mouth to pipe up "YES!" but got an elbow in my ribs from David as a reward.

"Only a couple," my dad lied easily.

And this is not unusual.

And, as an adult, I now understand it completely. Just a picture of a morel makes my heartrate kick up. I don't even care about eating them. I just want to FIND them. You'd think it was easy to spot a tender beigey-pink lovely among the green grass, but you'd be surprised.

I can't wait to get out there!!!!


Angela said...

I know exactly what you're talking about. My dad would do this every morning in spring (in Eastern Iowa, it's more like late March and into April rather than May, if I remember correctly). He'd soak them in a big bowl of salt water (to get rid of the dirt and bugs), and then drain the previous day's bounty and slice 'em up and cook them with potatoes, eggs, onions on the skillet and eat with ketchup (as most foods should be eaten).

I do not care for them (I don't like any mushrooms, really), but it's a fun way to spend a spring morning.

And you are DEAD ON about keeping your spots secret. My dad wouldn't even tell my mom where he went, lest she slip up and tell an uncle!

Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

Angela said...

E3, re: your friend's loss: Check out this site:


You may have heard of my sort-of-friend matt logelin of MN-turned-socal -- he's been on Oprah, Rachel Ray, etc. His wife died last March, a day after giving birth to Madeline.

He started the foundation in his wife's name to pass on all the good will (and donations) he got (unwanted--the donations, not the goodwill) after his wife died, leaving him with a baby in NICU.

It gives one-time grants of $1K to families with young children who've lost one of the parents/partners (no marriage required, gay couples are welcome to apply as well).

Feel free to pass that link on to the right person to see if the husband can get a little financial assistance--they're entitled to use it any way they see fit, no strings attached.

ericka said...

Seriously, getthefuckoutofmyhead!!!! I was just researching morel hunting this past weekend!!!! Creepy.

ex-ferrer said...

I never cared for mushrooms.