Friday, 24 September 2010

Are you feeling lucky?



In an attempt to scare the daylights out of you, so that you keep away from Cro's and my woodland and leave all the mushrooms for us, I have posted pictures of three other types of mushroom, all of which I have deliberately eaten, and one of which can probably kill you.

The top ones are Honey Fungus, and delicious. However, they can cause extreme stomach upsets in some people. Since the books don't exactly say which people, it is a case of suck it and see. I ate them with no ill effects. These are the mushrooms which tree-surgeons get to know before all others, as they actually kill the host tree.

The middle one is a Boletus which can also cause upsets in some people. Again, I got away with it.

The bottom one - 'Fly Agaric' or Amanita Muscaria - is that one from every kid's story book, and the skin (only the skin) contains the toxin 'muscaria' which causes hallucinations, extreme illness and, in some cases, coma and death. The French fry these mushrooms, skin down in the pan, and have them for breakfast. The cooking destroys the toxin. I ate a raw one, because I wanted to see what the hallucinations are like. They were used as battle aids by marauding Viking troops - the 'Beserkers' - and this is where we get the word 'beserk' from. They give you a feeling of immense power - invincible and effortless power, so that you feel like a god who is about to shit himself at any moment. A strange sensation, I'm sure you would agree. I got away with that one too.

There are many other mushrooms which have the same conflicting advice attached to them - i.e. "They taste nice, but I wouldn't eat them if I were you".

So, you have to ask yourself.... Well, are you, punk? (apologies to Clint Eastwood)

11 comments:

  1. I've enjoyed reading about your deadly mushroom escapades, Tom. It makes me feel quite boring eating the swiss browns from the supermarket.

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  2. Like the previous person, I'm sticking with the market ones. Your wild mushroom escapades, while interesting reading, are a bit too much of a gamble for normal folk.

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  3. Jeez Tom, are you on a death wish? I've just found what could be a boletus in the garden. In fact all sorts of fungi seem to be sprouting up overnight. But I'll still stick to the beans on toast for lunch. (Well actually it's homemade tomato soup today with a glass of red!).

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  4. Well done, it's obviously working. We'll be the only ones in the woods!

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  5. you are a risk taker....I will never eat a mushroom that isn't in poly bag again....

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  6. Have you read The Debt to Pleasure, by John Lanchester? It's very well-written and amusing, and killer mushrooms feature in the plot.

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  7. He he! My little ploy is working! No, I haven't read that book, Mise. Many people believe that Hyronimus Bosch painted all those hell scenes after taking Fly Agaric, because he painted them in a mural in a Flemish church.

    Next up - psilocybin. (or however you spell it)

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  8. Hey Tom, that honey fungus looks exactly like the armillaris that we collect. It kills trees with the mycelium, so then it can live from the dead tree for years and it grows in a clumping habit the same too.
    I discovered that eating it raw can make me sick as a dog but as soon as it is cooked then it's fine. Raw, it kind of BURNS. Nasty. But lovely in a risotto.
    Love your fairy ring.
    And I'll wait til autumn for the blue meanies around here ... :))) You've got me all excited. But here it is Spring. Great photographs, happy hunting!

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  9. I wondered if that Honey Fungus was the same thing as your armillaris, Sarah. It certainly sounds the same, so it probably is - or a genetic variation. Those photos aren't mine, BTW - they're ripped off from the net. Here in Britain, the bastards are building up steam in order to try and ban the picking of mushrooms. This lot over here just LOVE banning anything which gives people harmless pleasure.

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  10. Okay. You and Cro can have 'em.

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  11. Thanks Willow - I'll bring a quiche over to the ball next week (heh heh)

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