Sunday, October 12, 2008

Motorcycles and Mushrooms

There’s not an immediate connection between the two, but stick with me folks.

As is the want at FTC, there’s a vehicle shuffle going on at the moment. Due to the strict “one in, one out” policy currently in force, my beloved husband has spent some time recently weighing up the relative pros and cons of 2 wheels Vs 4. Needless to say after a break of 5 years, 2 wheels won and a slightly bedraggled BSM Bantam has found its way to the workshop for some pre-MOT fettling. In honour of this retro-fest, Keith has seen fit to grow what can only be described as a lip slug in something of an homage to the late great Paul Newman. I am not a fan. He has promised that when he I took a photo of him on the bike with said facial hair, he would shave it off. So here he is and may we never speak of this again.

Now, onto the mushrooms. One of the joys of getting up early of a weekend and wandering around the fields in the first mists of autumn is that there are numerous opportunities to forage. Some of them entirely unexpected, as it was today. We had passed the river with only a small detour made by the hound to test whether the water really was as cold as it looked, and proceeded in an unusually orderly and calm way into the farmer’s fields which have recently been ploughed and planted.

As we headed towards the first of the duck ponds, Keith spotted something in the margins of the field. We paused, looked, and looked again. It wasn’t there yesterday was it? No, I think we would have noticed. Well maybe it’s just a stone? No, it really is, a mushroom. Do you think it’s poisonous? Oh no, it’s just a field mushroom. Do we have a carrier bag? OK, let’s get picking!!
About an hour, and an entire bag of ‘shooms later, we were on our way home, pausing again to herd the hound out of the river and chase him around the field when he took exception to his swim being cut short.

Once through the door it was down with the newspaper and out of the bag with the mushrooms. What a mighty haul!! We can make several meals out of these, risotto, spaghetti, we can even save some for the dinner party next weekend. Even better, we’ll use the book Sal and Dave gave us for our anniversary to check them out!!!

The book was lifted reverently out of the cupboard, Antonio Carluccio smiling benevolently at us like some kind of mushroom gnome. OK I know the drill here. Take mushroom, cut in half so we can check the stalk and the base for colouration and potential evilness. Check. Open book to field mushroom section. Check. Ah, here we are, field mushrooms, looks right, but the gills look a bit pale. Maybe they’re just young? There’s a poison version but no, the base of ours doesn’t turn yellow if bruised. Phew!! I was worried there, cos after last time I was expecting to find out these were the only strain of inedible field mushrooms in euro …. Hold up. What do you mean avoid white gills. What’s wrong with white gills? See page 27. Right. Ah here we are … Amanita Verna aka Fool’s Mushroom … A lethal and deadly mushroom.


So once again the mushrooms gods have turned their backs on us and walked briskly in the other direction. Discretion being the better part of valour, we’ll let them go … this time.

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