Marian Carcache: Buy ‘shrooms reliably

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Last year for Christmas, my son gave me a year’s membership in Auburn’s Osher Lifelong Learners Institute. I took a course in mycology, the study of fungi. Our course focused on mushrooms.

I think the reason I picked that course is that several of my favorite movies involve mushrooms. In the 1970s, I saw the Spanish film, The Spirit of the Beehive, a political allegory that includes a beautifully haunting dreamlike scene of a little girl who has eaten wild mushrooms, against the stark backdrop of Franco’s fascist regime.



My British mysteries often include death by mushroom. A favorite episode of Midsomer Murders, “Destroying Angel,” and Miss Marple’s “4:50 from Paddington” rely on knowledge of mushrooms to pull off murder. And I am chomping at the bit to see Academy Award nominated Phantom Thread in which mushrooms apparently also play a major role.

So a week ago when my son told me he had seen a bounty of chanterelles on his walk to work, I hesitated. But after he and I both did some research and consulted with a friend who forages on a regular basis and has lived to tell about it, we harvested the lovely mushrooms and cooked them in herbed butter. They were delicious.

Later in the evening, I was reviewing my notes from the mycology class and kept seeing names like “Death Cap,” “Deadly Dapperling,” and “Death Angels.” Then in bold letters, underlined, a warning from the teacher: “If you want to eat mushrooms, buy them at a reliable store!”

Fortunately, we had correctly identified the scrumptious chanterelles, but my first thought the next morning was, “Thank God we lived through the night!”

Marian Carcache  welcomes 

comments at carcamm@auburn.edu.