Sunday, November 15, 2009


To be honest, I had never seen a happier mushroom. And that unexpectedly - as if anyone ever expected to see even a happy mushroom - but so it was. I hadn't been thinking of mushrooms at all, which is my normal state of mind, generally. I can go many days without thinking of mushrooms.

For example, I hadn't thought of mushrooms for about a week, I believe-- it's not easy to quantify mushroom-thoughtless durations-- then this morning I totally maxed out my mushroom thought quota by harvesting a few new shiitake that had emerged after the big rains of recent days (I tend to harvest them young before they grow too big and before monkeys, snails or other bugs can take advantage of my largesse). So much for mushroom mentation over the next few days, or so you'd think.

Then this afternoon I was just back from bucking some oak trees up mountain and was putting the chainsaw away, my lunch hunger growing by the minute, when I noticed an alien object atop the firewood stack nearest the tool shed. What could be forming that weird shape - in sort of an ET color - I went closer and saw that it was the biggest shiitake I have ever seen - though I expect there may be bigger ones down the line.

Last autumn I had spontaneously used one of the thinner Jumbo shiitake-inoculated logs I mentioned in an earlier post to hold down the plastic sheeting atop the firewood, and that one log had put its entire focus into sending up just one mushroom, which because of its odd location had not been noticed by insect, monkey or human, until I was the first to behold its magnificence. I ran off at once to get my camera to photograph this monster, since I had spazzed out on my previous Jumbo photo-op (as also indicated in said post), and as I was about to snap the photo I realized I had to put some object in there for scale, 'cause this thing was just too big, so I put in a cigarette lighter that I always carry for burning tree trimmings etc., but a bright red plastic cigarette lighter just seemed inappropriate, not to say garish and profane in the august presence of this Caesar of funguses, so I took off my glasses and put them on top of it, took the photograph and saw that the mushroom was quite handsome with my glasses on, they seemed to fit that noble countenance - in fact the mushroom seemed to be quite smiley now that he could see clearly.

His name is Max. He makes a peerless garlic-mushroom fettuccine.


mss @ Zanthan Gardens said...

Boy! You weren't kidding in your Nov 7th post...those are giant shiitake. I'm glad you put the glasses on Max so that we could appreciate his magnificence from afar. The garlic-mushroom fettuccine sounds delicious.

R. Brady said...

Yes, you just slice the shiitake paperthin, saute in some olive oil, add desired broth, then add cooked noodles and toss while reducing to essence of heaven, with parmesan on top...