On Mushroom Gulch, morel or less

Like mushrooms, Reese is a fun guy.
Like mushrooms, Reese is a fun guy.

There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who hate mushrooms and those who are wrong.

In parts of Asia and Eastern Europe, mushrooms are viewed as fruits of the forest. Of course, in parts of Asia and Eastern Europe, they also eat dogs.
In parts of Asia and Eastern Europe, mushrooms are viewed as “fruits of the forest.” Of course, in parts of Asia and Eastern Europe, they also eat dogs.

Mushrooms, like mold and whatever causes ringworm, are fungus, not food. Nothing perverts a pizza, mars a marinara or quells a quesadilla like mushrooms. When it comes to ingesting fungi, I make an exception for yeast, which yields beer and dough and other culinary wonders, and is refined to a texture that does not evoke human flesh.

My repulsion for mushrooms runs so deep that I demand to be cremated rather than buried when I die, if for no other reason than to deny mushrooms an opportunity to leech their way into existence via my rotting corpse.

Reese on alert for the fungus among us.
Reese on alert for the fungus among us.

This distaste for mushrooms dates to childhood, though the circumstances are lost in the dense forest of memory. Not even their empowering effects in the Super Mario games or the fact that they housed Smurfs could sway me as a kid. While my tastes have evolved, and I have become a vegetarian no less, mushrooms still disgust me. As an adult, they stir feelings of disdain on par with the similarly fungal, likewise inexplicably popular and comparably queerly becapped Donald Trump, whose supporters sprout on the manure he spews with the haste of mushrooms on a cow patty after a late-spring rain.

Mushrooms were sparse in their namesake gulch, but we did come across a rock that looks like a fossilized version of the thing on Donald Trump's head.
Mushrooms were sparse in their namesake gulch, but we did come across a rock that looks like a fossilized version of the thing on Donald Trump’s head.

This is not to say that I am a mycophobe or that I am immune to the diverse and vibrant aesthetic merits of wild mushrooms. I was excited to recently explore Mushroom Gulch in central Colorado’s San Isabel National Forest; its name conjures a cremini-carpeted ravine, and after a few days of showers the conditions were favorable for fungus.

Alas, we encountered only a few puny specimens. None of the brain-like bulbs or tumorous tiers. No cartoonish toadstools.

Maybe it is still too early for mushroom hunting. Or perhaps I was just looking with the wrong animals. After all, “you gotta have swine to show you where the truffles are.”

Wyatt does the truffle shuffle.
Wyatt does the truffle shuffle.
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4 thoughts on “On Mushroom Gulch, morel or less

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  1. Ans so alas our lovely online friendship where we have agreed on so much (so being one of my favourite words, now sadly devalued by DT’s use) blunders into a brick wall.
    I love mushrooms.
    As a child I would buy 2oz of mushroom stalks each Saturday. They cost 4½d, a considerable percentage of my 1/6d pocket money, fortunately supplemented by the 6d I got from my grandfather for buying his newspaper and taking his (later my) gorgeous black Labrador for a walk. I was seven, she was eighteen months, strong enough to pull me over and drag me through Guildford’s streets had she wished, but fortunately well trained and obedient. My mother said she was like a young pony.
    I cooked the mushrooms in an omelette. Heaven. I still love mushrooms. They are a staple of my diet. To be mushroomless is a sad state of affairs.
    But for seeing and collecting in the wild, autumn is best, so I look forward to your resist and subsequent photos.
    As for DT, I read an article by Jonathan Freedland I think you’d enjoy about the lies DT and BoJo have told so often they have acquired the currency of truth. http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/may/13/boris-johnson-donald-trump-post-truth-politician

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    1. I’ve just never been able to come around on ‘shrooms, and I’ve tried. My partner “sneaks” them into food all the time (as if I don’t notice that earthy, rigor mortis-y smell or flesh-like texture).
      And thanks for the Jonathan Freedland piece! The media in general here has done a piss-poor job holding Trump accountable for the lies that tumble forth from his mouth in a seemingly endless stream. But, as Freedland notes, the truth is out there; people are just too lazy to look for it, and politicians like Trump know it.

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  2. haha, yes! This killed me. I hate mushrooms too–my wife and I have at least a weekly argument over fungus in food.

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    1. Thanks for reading! I’m glad I’m not alone. I don’t care how much research there is showing their health benefits or medicinal values, mushrooms are gross.

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