A few weeks ago I was watching Bizarre Foods hosted by Andrew Zimmern on The Travel Channel. I swear some of the food that man puts in his mouth makes my stomach turn, and really I don't know how he does it, I suspect it is due to television editing and they are cutting all of his upchucks out of the shows (just a theory mind you).
This time however he was interviewing a man who calls himself "The Mushroom Man", I am not kidding, that is what he calls himself. This show did not gross me out as I really do adore mushrooms....that woodsy deep earthy pungent smell and taste; They seem almost like an alien creature when you happen upon them in the woods. Early this summer we enjoyed frying up some Morel mushrooms that were to die for.
The Mushroom Man episode stuck in my mind as I was a bit impressed with this fella because he had garnered permission to hunt mushrooms on the grounds of Biltmore in Asheville, North Carolina (Fancy Schmancy Aristocratic Mushrooms) and he has quite a nice little business established by selling the mushrooms he finds. Here is a link to that show: http://www.travelchannel.com/TV_Shows/Bizarre_Foods/Zimmern_Appalachia_Slideshow_1
We went to the farm for a few days and now I feel like The Mushroom Woman! (though I AM NOT referring to myself as such, not yet anyway) We found some very interesting specimens. The large ruffled variety remind me of Cabbage. I don't know the proper name so I am calling it Cabbage in the Woods, there that sounds rather scientific doesn't it. I found several other species as well. I love that one with the pale peachy pink coloring. The trouble is the only mushroom that I know is safe to eat from the wilds is a Morel, as for these others, I am not sure what is edible and what is not. Better to leave it at picture taking than trying to whip up a mushroom gastronomical delight which may or may not lead to a stomach pump or worse. Now I am on the hunt for a Mushroom guidebook that will hopefully help me figure out what is what. You never know.....I may just give The Mushroom Man a run for his money!