Something has happened in my brain… I seem to have lost the ability to hazard a guess at English pronunciation of unfamiliar words. My pronunciation has completely czechified, as a result, I shall now be teaching people here the Italian word for Hřib mushrooms: Porcini. I think that very few British people would know what Cep were, or that they are the very same thing as those very exclusive Porcini mushrooms:
Czech mushroom collection is an institution. We tried this for ourselves for the first time on Sunday and after an hour in the forest came back with a full basket. We were collecting the safest mushrooms – those from the Bolete family & I felt confident in identifying these. We fried them in oil, butter and garlic & they were very tasty. I continued to sort & chop our new food source and came across this…
I realised that it was unlike the other mushrooms we’d collected when the flesh turned from a pale yellow to a deep blue almost instantly (quicker than me putting the knife down and picking up the camera).
A little research revealed it to be Boletus Luridus. A fantastic name for a mushroom with a chameleon’s range of colour. At least this threw up the possibility of poisonous mushrooms in the Bolete family – before we did. The other one which is dangerous is Boletus Satanus – you could guess from the name… however this is distinctive with a white cap and red stalk. Apparently none of the Bolete family can kill you, but at least I know that some can make you very, very ill.
An interesting wikipedia article about the Slavic mushroom picking traditions puts it quite succinctly… they think we’re being paranoid. A lovely American mushroom site is at pains to point out that the author (of the site and of the book 100 edible mushrooms), does not eat them at all.
We both spent the next few hours being rather too carefully observant of any physical sensations, and worrying ourselves into feeling slightly queasy. The power of suggestion. It was a lovely sensation the next morning, to know we’d just been typically Englishly paranoid.
Today it’s been raining, so I can’t wait to go out mushroom collecting again early tomorrow.