Sunday, October 18, 2015

Urban mushroom diary - autumn update 3

The previous chapters of this diary are here and here. This might go on for a long time. I have no idea when the urban mushrooms season ends. I never paid so much attention to fungi.

28 September 2015 - Clusters of fresh new mushrooms are appearing in the place between the bicycle path and the road. Too young to guess what they are. They look like puffballs but most probably they're not. I'll call this place "spot A" for conciseness.
30 September 2015 - Spot A is bare again. All the mushrooms are gone or are broken into fragments. The mycologists on my videos say that this not bad, that it helps to spread the spores more widely. I don't think a mower did the damage, there is no grass to speak of here. It could be a garbage sweeper truck or a dog-shit sucker.

2 October 2015 - And although my favorite mushroom spot has been razed, I see a flood of mushrooms in the most unexpected places. Culture is taking over from nature and during a visit to Gouda I see fungi spreading to restaurant menus. Wild mushroom soup with chestnut puree and Pernod.
And mushrooms are invading restaurant terrace decorations. The Amanita muscaria (harshly hallucinogenic and nausea inducing, but edible when prepared correctly) is the prototypical mushroom. Most likely the cause is the Dutch children's song: "on a big mushroom, red with white spots". These fly agarics are often combined with grape leaves. But you don't want one in your restaurant dish.
They appear in cosmetics shops and suddenly contain doors for gnomes or elves. But mushrooms don't belong here. You wouldn't want a fungal infection on your skin sprouting nice red fruiting bodies. Something like this good, but too horrible book that I couldn't finish.
Fungi in cheese shops are in their natural habitat. But this is the wrong species of fungus. Also notice the grape leaves. The ultimate autumn combination.
In chocolate shops mushrooms are combined with edible (chocolate) chestnuts and fallen (chocolate) leaves for the "autumn assortment". They look like the well known button (Agaricus) mushrooms.
But the hipster Amanita is used on the packaging of the chocolates.
3 October 2015 - Once again the Amanita is used as food decoration in Rotterdam. A nice chocolate cake with mushrooms, acorns and fallen leaves. Guarded by a squirrel. Interesting that a myco-phobic culture like the Dutch still loves its mushrooms when tame.

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