Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sporadic Mycophilia: Golden Chanties ...

Today I found my first wild golden chanterelles - one of the most precious finds for any mycophage [top 3 choice edible on any list] because of their taste and because they have never been successfully cultivated by commercial farmers.  They were beautiful, if a little over-ripe.  I found them circling the ground near a large, mature oak in some woods almost within sight of the side door to my office.  They smell strongly of dried apricots - not even a trace of mushroom or fungal aroma ... simply wonderful.  Bright, buttery yellow gold, they stood out from the forest floor, that is only just starting to clutter with the bright colors of fall leaves.  You can see from the picture their deep ridges/wrinkles [NOT gills & NOT growing out of dead wood/tree base and NOT in a true cluster]. They sliced solid with a white center down the stalk.  We sauteed them with some pineapple, honey, salt, general seasoning spice mix, and of course, lots of butter - then served with pasta. 
It vividly reminded me of a Leithart passage a friend shared with me recently.  He notes how Moses recounts the construction of the tabernacle to parallel the 7 days of creation in Genesis 1.  “Day 3: Table of showbread on north side outside the veil, with bread arranged [Ex 40:22-23]” corresponds to Day 3 of the creation week: “Golden land and food”.
...“the Day 3 associations of the golden table suggest that the dry land itself is a table spread with food for God’s creatures. A table that reproduces food at will, that recycles waste food and turns it into more food to re-fill the table, in other words a pretty neat table. Altars are also tables, and so the dry land-as-table suggests that the land also emerges from the sea to be God’s table.”
As you can see from the picture, I pulled them straight from the soil.  This was intentional.  Studies have shown that they seem to grow back and thrive more in the longrun when harvested this way than when knife cut.  ... almost as if they were created for us just to pluck off the ground, a golden table of delights.

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