Beds of Moss

Beds of Moss

While in the old country, friends invited me to accompany them foraging for mushrooms. It was a delightful hunt, it forced me to slow down, to scan the soilscape carefully.

The kids were finding bolets right at my feet, where I had only noticed moss, dead leaves and brown soil. The five year old soon teamed with me and was telling me, as I pointed to the "children of the tree", "good!" or "not good". The kids were citing either their father or mother as the one who had taught them and were eager collectors.

The kids each had their own swiss army knife and were expertly cutting away the fruit at its base, leaving the web intact.

At times I was lost in the forests of my own childhood, when I was accompanying my grandfather, on the hunt for Chanterelles. I think my favourite was the Trumpet of the Dead. I tried to recapture the knowledge of that time, but it was another forest, other trees, and the light was a bit different.

I remember that time where my grandfather had made a wild boar flee, while my brother and I hid behind our grandmother holding to our small mushroom baskets. Or was it a big dog? It's too far away now.

This october, we also found lots of Laccaria Amethystina. While we ate the other mushrooms with sauce on top of toasted bread, the Laccaria ended fried on their own. It was a deliciously simple plate, courtesy of the automnal forest.

Looking at the wikipedia page for the Laccaria, I realize it's edible but it's also good at concentrating arsenic. If I look at the french version of the page, it says it's edible, and good, but has a strong ability to concentrate Caesium-137. The german version says the high concentration of Caesium was observed after Chernobyl. The italian version, says that despite its amethyst coloration it is edible, but can cause gastroenteric problems.

I am writing those lines and I have had no problems so far.

I asked my father if he had ever been tasked with gathering mushrooms, he told me he and his brother were rather expected to bring back wood for the fire. He also noted that the forest was much more "clean" when he was a kid (not much left to rot).