Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Black Hoodie / Grim Whisperer

Last night, a friend casually mentioned that the author of the Horse Whisperer, Nicholas Evans nearly died after a bout with mushroom poisoning and ended up needing a Kidney Transplant !  (!!)

Made my think about how crucially important it is to KNOW WHAT YOU'RE EATING.  And that is why I recommend the book 100 wild edibles by Michael Kuo. I used this book like a bible on a two-week camping trip through the U.P. with a friend, and unlike the whisperer, I came out of the forest needing no transplants, but instead, with fresh lovely memories of hedgehog mushrooms and boletes cooked over a fire.

Photo of tasty Hedgehog mushroom, Hydnum repandum.

I like this book because of it's organization.  It starts out with mushrooms that have no poisonous look-a likes, like, you won't confuse them for anything.  And you should feel damn confident about eating them.  Then the book moves to mushrooms with look-a-likes that are perhaps poisonous.  And lastly it moves into the tasty edibles that unfortunately are easily misidentified, much like what happened to our Horse Whisperer friend.

The article says:
        "He’d been told just the place to find ceps and chanterelles and came back with a basketful of what he thought were Boletus edulis, or ceps. He was greeted like a returning hero. “Fantastic!” they said. No one noticed they were the deadly webcap, Cortinarius speciosissimus, a mushroom that damages the liver, kidneys and spinal cord. No one consulted the fungi guidebook in the kitchen."

All right, so this is an image of the poisonous ones,  Cortinarius speciosissimus
Which the author mistook for these, Boletus edulis or ceps.

Again, and again, be careful about your judgement.  How these poisons known as 'Mycotoxins' work, is they DESTROY your liver or kidney or whatever and THEN you feel shitty.  So it's not like you can 'catch' the sickness early, because you are already destroyed.  AND THEY WILL DESTROY YOU.

Normally I hate focusing on this issue, and only because I am a big advocate of mushroom hunting, especially solitary mushroom hunting.  (Which supposedly is also dangerous because of all the creeps).  I just feel we all live in a world of constant gratification and concrete and oil smell. Because of the social media, it can feel scary being alone in the woods (with no cell phone service), but I think it is damn good for the mind, no matter how many creeps are out there.  Just living in general is taking a risk in itself.  And yea, I don't like talking about the negatives of mushroom eating because I think it's an awesome hobby when done smartly.  For example, our Horse Whisperer friend DID NOT EVEN CONSULT A GUIDEBOOK (!)  And I'm also scared that talking about forests as SCARY PLACES will make people want to tear them down, but that is actually much much more frightening.

I used to live in Yspilanti, Michigan and I would go hang out around Ford Lake, named after the holy mountain motor company, Ford.  Many times it would just be me there staring at the god forsaken lake with the hum of i-94 behind it.  But it was a nice place I could find sanity, something I am always after in this modern age.  A couple fishermen approached me, I peeped up wide-eyed through my black hoodie and stared and the man said,
    'You all right?'
Like my normal weirdo self I sort of stumbly muttered uhhh yaaaa, But it my brain I was thinking
That obvisouly wasn't communicated outwardly because then he said,
    "You uhhh aint gonna go kill yourself on us are you?  You aint gunna jump in that lake?"

To this I was totally almost flattered but mostly shocked.  So my goth look either worked or I seemed insanely sad OR he was just totally shocked to see a modern aged lady chilling ALONE by a polluted as fuck lake, trying to catch some sane waves.  X, Leah

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