My Favorite Fall Memory – Submitted by Oksana Atwood
When fall comes around, many people take care of their gardens, go hunting or start making preserves for the winter. In my family we go hunting in preparation for the winter…but we go hunting for mushrooms.
When my mother and aunts were growing up in the countryside, my Ukrainian baba would teach them which mushrooms were safe to eat, and which were ones to stay away from. They quickly learned that it’s something to do only with someone who is very, very wise about mushrooms, or maybe even someone who studies them ( a mycologist).
But you can hunt them without touching them! The next time it rains look for puffballs all white and round, stay away from the brightly colored and white dotted Amanitas. Consider that Shaggy Mane mushrooms and Morels are delicacies that people pay high prices for in restaurants. People around the world learn, pick and eat their local mushrooms which add to their diet.
These days, the hunt continues. Each aunt carries bags and containers in the trunk of the car, and many daytrips have been diverted: “STOP THE CAR! I see mushrooms” and the rest of the day will be spent searching for and picking the mushrooms we know, to dry and use for flavorful soups and dishes right through the year. Mushrooms are a hard to find wheres-waldo type plant anyone can look for in the fall.