Friday, October 23, 2009

Tastes Like Chicken

09102303sulphurshelf

Mmmm… This is the Sulphur Shelf fungi (laetiporus suphureus), ready to eat, cleaned, sliced, spiced and fried. Also known as the Chicken Mushroom, for reasons obvious to anyone cooking and tasting them. So the old adage, “tastes like chicken” may often be meant facetiously, and has appeared in some off colour jokes I won’t mention here, but it this case it really really does.

09102302sulphurshelf Here it is just getting ready in the pan.

09102301sulphurshelf And here it is on the cutting board. This is one of the most easily identifiable edible mushrooms around. Supposedly common, it’s been awhile since I’ve found one to eat.

And the sad thing is, when I found it, it was the most beautiful mushroom in the woods, all hot peach and sulphur yellow, growing in voluptuous layers across a fallen tree, surrounded by the yellow greens of early autumn. And what did I do? I screeched ‘ooh, ooh, ooh’ in excitement and hurried over tear off a few lobes for myself. While I wasn’t completely oblivious to it’s aesthetic appeal; I tore off lobes in such a way as to leave the bulk of the mushroom intact, a spot of beauty for other passersby to enjoy, but for some reason I was so overwhelmed by the possibility of eating this choice morsel that it never occurred to me to photograph it first. And this on the same day that I snapped the flag, and the windmill!

Have I learned to not let appetites get in the way of aesthetics? Probably not. Or should we learn to appreciate our appetites in a full and rounded fashion? Better yet, for there is something wonderful about finding food in the forest, and something more wonderful that this still can happen. A single feral apple, a have dozen wild berries can be a superior culinary treat to anything found in the store.

November 1st, 2009 Update!

This is an elderly, and therefore not particularly edible, chicken mushroom still on the tree. Aged beyond edibility, but still splendid to look at; found in Eldred King Forest, York Regional Forest.

And now, a Work in Progress, just to keep the art theme going. The Rivers Edge WIP is sitting on my wall, so that I can digest and assess before I continue. On the left are my snaps of the chrome-footed bolete as found on the trail to Warp Bay, in Lake Superior Provincial Park. I never positively identified them, so I could be wrong, but I enjoyed them as visual treats as they were so rosy I was completely mesmerized by them. The artwork is coloured pencil on 8”x10” stonehenge paper; a rather conventional treatment (for me), but I did notice that while my usual swirly line-work is absent, it appears in the shapes and composition.

09102304wip

5 comments:

Jennifer Rose said...

when someone can't figure out what something tastes like, it tastes like chicken :p rabbit tastes like chicken but its more tender :p

always like seeing your mushroom drawings :)

kaslkaos said...

It really really does taste like chicken. My husband HATES mushrooms, and HATES the smell, and the texture, but he'll eat and enjoy this one. It even shreds like chicken, and doesn't permete the house with mushroom smells (though I like mushroom smells, of course).
Never had rabbit, except as a pet.

Missy Ricco said...

I'm not much of an exotic eater, so chicken tastes like chicken to me!!!

Your descriptions of them when you found them sounded lovely.

Chrissy said...

Great drawing, I confess to beginning share your fascination with fungi, I found some fly agaric (not sure that I have that right), the big red mushie, the other day. It is really quite wow. And the guys in the forum ID'd another as a puffball which I understand is edible? This one looks real tasty!

kaslkaos said...

Missy, I'm not an exotic eater either, but my dad taught me mushrooming from early on so it doesn't seem quite so weird. & yes, I missed a nice photo op.
Chrissy, glad you've seen the light. They are pretty, aren't they. And yes, puffballs are tasty. Slice & fry in lots of butter, and...they taste like butter! Actually, it probably means they're fairly tasteless, but they crisp up nice like chips.

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