A day of foraging – just what the doctor ordered
Oh and then there’s that upcoming mushroom extravaganza of mine too, for which I am still waiting on 9 out of the 22 varieties with less than two weeks to go (more urgent than any doctor’s orders). So with an uncertain mushroom future and a desire to get out of the kitchen for a day, it was time to get out there and hunt. We decided to tag along as François went on a prospecting run to check on some of his spots. It’s only good for cooks to get out in the woods every once and a while. For the therapeutic effects, but also to value the work and good fortune behind the mushrooms they are cooking up.. The quiet of the woods was somewhat broken by the regular neophyte questioning calls out to François, but despite the badgering breaking his communion with nature, I think he was happy to have so many extra pairs of hands.
On our field trip, we never lucked into a mega patch of anything, but we found a bit of all sorts: yellow-brown boletus, larch boletus, blewits, a few delicious lactarius, even a couple of chanterelles, some clitocybe, some shaggy mane, one chicken mushroom, some autumn oysters (those were a lot of work). Overall, it was a good day. Stéphanie didn’t get lost in the woods, Theo didn’t fall out of any trees, no one got hit with a stray bullet (it is hunting season after all). And we got a good dose of enthusiasm for what is to come – the autumn varieties are really only starting. We clocked in ten hours or so (five people) and came back with a half trunk load, hardly remarkable, but promising. It was enough for a feast in any case; we scoffed down a meal of veal with bolete and polypore sauce, and sautéed oysters served purely on the side, (and a tomato salad with crusty bread, of course), sweet. It no longer mattered that our knees and fingers were stained brown, that we were exhausted or that we hadn’t gotten anything else done that day.
But then, there was poor Theo who fell into the stinging nettle a few too many times while caught up in securing his oysters from the heavens, who also ended up with his car in the ditch on the way home. I guess there is a price to pay for all out mushroom fever.
The progress of a cèpe d'automne in our yard over the course of a few days- amazing!