_ points out in his book. Mushroom .‘

Magic. that we pick brambles.

raspberries and blackcurrants with abandon. assured that we will not muddle them up with labumum or

deadly nightshade. Why do we have

such a hang up on fungi? One reason

may be to do with their appearance. Take the aptly named stinkhorn mushroom. Darwin's daughter used to

. . burn any pictures she found of them. Whlle SCOtland 5 WIld and the rest of Victorian society prirnly

mushrooms are a coveted printed them upside down. I think we . have a deep rooted sexual fear of dellcacy abroad, at home swollen. slimy. poison-filled phalluses

they are the carefully kept smelling dank and living offdark.

' ' decaying wood. Do let me put you off. secret Of ‘1 hdfldel Of because in reality they are so delicious.

devoted mycologists 01' so much more exciting than the pallid.

° , . ' . water-logged buttons piled high on fungl fan‘s' Wlth the 2 every supermarket shelf. that I‘d rather mushroom SeaSOn Upon 5 you stayed in the dark and left them for us, Hannah Robinson . US-

. l 3 Before I knew how delicious manages to unearth some mushrooms were. I knew they were

gelng and Offers advise to : lucrative. Every autumn my brother and

I - - - I. from the tender age of six. used to be those Who Want to .1011] In i sent out by our parents into the forests

[hC fun. of East Lothian to pick chanterelles. for I which we were rewarded £1 per lb. This was a gold-mine. We could make £5 a day each! Enough to buy cola- L cubes by the bucket. Little did we know 1 that our parents were on a 500 per cent mark up. selling to hotels and restaurants. who themselves were getting a bargain. I never used to eat ; them. because my mother was allergic and I copied her. but then one day I did a reading test in Primary 4 on the subject of cooking mushrooms and my imagination was sparked. When I tried them that night. melted into butter as instructed. l was immediately gigfiwfm , I“ converted to the cult of mushrooms A? 5‘ - 'T a 1 would like this article to have a :5" 1 similar effect on you if you have not discovered wild mushrooms. If you want to try them without traipsing round fields and forests. lan Ruthven at The Waterfront restaurant in Leith. Edinburgh has them on his menu i whenever he is supplied. (This is not : foretellable. mushrooms come up one ' { week in their hundreds. and the next day they can be completely ! l i

I am perplexed about mushrooms. ()n the one hand I could rant for pages about the beauty’ and delicacy of wild mushrooms. their range of flavours. forms. colours and textures. the delicious dishes they create. the :I wonderful myths that surround them. On the other I could keep stumm in case you all rushed out and ravaged the countryside running the risk of poisoning yourselves and. more importantly. leaving none for me. nor for the secret brotherhood of mushroom pickers and expert mycologists.

It‘s no joke. Switzerland has made it illegal to pick wild mushrooms at weekends after its forests were trampled to bits and almost cleaned out of fungi. France and ltaly are hot on their heels. Britain however. and in particular Scotland. is the last bastion of undiscovered plenty and although the value of Scottish mushrooms is well known abroad. this is not the case at home. There are an enlightened few. but usually they have European connections. If mushrooms are picked . . . _ hem they usually go to 1:..Cnch_stylc I to him. he had pan fried Scottish restaurants or to France itself. It never 'Ch‘m‘ereneS “m1 garl‘e elmer 0“ the used [0 be like mix Wc used m be a t nuts (I oeuvres list and stir-fried hall mushroom-picking community. but eh‘el’fe" “'“h tree“ has” and Domini 35‘ somewhere along the line it died out. I ‘1 "mm Course Pere'ni mean" “"10 Pigs~ , ' " have been offered several explanations. ' and is the “mm” for Belem-‘3 the





untraceablc). The day I went in to talk

1) 3;; e //, ‘/'///.J ,1/71//’/ e /

involvinu ideas- includm“ Darwin penny—bun mushroom which grows Foreifli means "We PiBS. arid is ""3 Palm" '0' Bo'eiusr "'9 Penny‘hu" "‘“Sh'oo'” “men 9'0“ depressigns and even dlfuids‘ but it large and brown and thickncshcd‘ with large and brown and thick-fleshed. With a smoky flavour and soft meaty texture.

a smoky flavour and soft meaty texture.

seems that at some point we became . . . fan is famous in the mushroom world

scared of mushrooms. Michael Jordan

for having discovered truffles in East man Who eellee“ mambo“ 0f cap‘ a “me bit pa“ its best' and some Lothian. but he won‘t tell me where. mUShrOO'm like me“ People eellcel Amethyst Deceivers _ deceiver because Honour among thieves he says. pictures of family and friends. Why not can cunmngl)’ Come 1“ many Shades

However. he introduced me to a friend g0 mUShTOOW hunting With him? This 0f purplc' of his. a fellow mushroom man Anders afternoon? NCXI thing I knew we Were When we get baek he med the Blair. whose mushroom heritage stems in ROSIYH Glen cracking Open a bottle BOICIUS (lUlely In VCFY hm bum” 30

i from his Swedish mother. Anders took 0f Wine ‘0 celebrate havmg found a that the inSide is Sealed and retains its

l me back to his office where he stores Prizc Charcoal Bumcr- We Wcm 0" ‘0 ‘ex‘ure and the OUISide becomes Crispy endless jars of preserved mushrooms. mid one great big Bay BOICWS» ‘1 RCd and week The Other edible ones' Whieh l Blcwirg, Amethyst dcccivcrs‘ Charcoal Cracked Bolctug‘ a ‘Plums and were all very small. we simmered with ' Burners. all preserved in white wine Custard' (WhiCh you don’t eat but it Peppercoms» baylgaf and CIOVCS and

i and olive oil. and bottled in jars. 100‘“ brilliant. 3“ Purple 0“ [he OUISidC reduced With cream to make a Sauce for

. retaining their texture and developing a With lhiCk Yellow “(i-Sh). some Oysmr S‘eak- Phenomenal {00d And

tangy. Greek taste. Then he showed me mushrooms. more solid and tasty than everything tastes even better because his photo collection. That was when l "‘0 soggy farmed Ones, ‘1 Milk CQP' you knew You found it- Anew-“‘5

knew I‘d found trouble, Here was a . with bitter milky sap. a Shaggy lnk favourite mushroom dish is Chanterelle


82 The List 23 September—6 October I994