Period (Probably not poisonous) Baked Mushrooms

lupaglupa

2nd Lieutenant
Forum Host
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Apr 18, 2019
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Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

In her book of advice, Common Sense in the Household, Marion Harland includes a section on every type of vegetable. Only one begins with a warning: that for mushrooms. "Have nothing to do with them until you are an excellent judge between the true and the false." In the age before mushrooms were safely cultivated, the warning was not at all unneeded. Though only about three percent of known mushroom varieties are poisonous when eaten, those who misjudge and eat a wrong type pay dearly for their mistake.

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People have been eating mushrooms for centuries. They are nutritious - one of the few vegetables with a high protein content - and delicious. They grow wild and thus are available to anyone willing to seek them out and pick them. And, most of the time they aren't poisonous. But - and it's an important but - sometimes they are. Nineteenth-century papers shared many stories of unlucky mushroom eaters. Often the stories claimed the unfortunate victims had mistaken toadstools for mushrooms, an easy error since mushrooms and toadstools are basically interchangeable - a mushroom only becomes a toadstool when it's proven poisonous.

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Newspapers and recipe books in the 1800s often included guides for those gathering and preparing mushrooms - rules to follow that would help distinguish one type from the other. Modern day experts point out that many varieties are virtually indistinguishable from each other and only experts should eat wild mushrooms and even then, better to not. As my husband likes to say "There are bold mushroom eaters and there are old mushroom eaters but there are no old, bold mushroom eaters."

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Advice was also plentiful on how to help those who ate mushrooms that turned out to be toadstools in disguise. But the advice varied. When one study claimed that large doses of alcohol would cure mushroom poisoning, a wag suggested that mushrooms would now be in high demand. No matter the advice for testing mushrooms before or after cooking, remedies often were not enough to save people who had mistakenly sat down to a plate full of toadstools.

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Still, mushrooms were popular and recipes for their use were common. How to balance safety and culinary variety? In Europe cultivation of mushrooms in caves had begin in the 17th century. By isolating the desired funghi from outside influences, growers could generally ensure that their products were safe. These mushrooms came at a price though, and many common folk still hunted for mushrooms in the woods. In the United States commercial production of mushrooms started in the 1880s in Pennsylvania, where mushrooms are still farmed. Today nearly half of all mushrooms grown in the US come from Chester County, Pennsylvania (just west of Philadelphia). And yes, they're safe to eat!

BAKED MUSHROOMS

Take fresh ones, - the size is not very important, - cut off nearly all the stalks, and wipe off the skin with wet flannel. Arrange neatly in a pie-dish, pepper and salt, sprinkle a little mace among them, and lay a bit of butter upon each. Bake about half an hour, basting now and then with butter and water, that they may not be too dry. Serve in the dish in which they were baked, with maitre d'hotel sauce poured over them.

Recipe from Common Sense in the Household by Marion Harland, published in New York in 1872, available at archive.org
All newspaper articles taken from the Library of Congress

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Mrs. V

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
May 5, 2017
We have a large immigrant population in our city. A number of years ago an entire family was poisoned after they picked and ate Death cap and Destroying Angel. Both are in the Amanita family. The poison slowly shuts down the liver and kidneys. And, I just read that Milk Thistle is one of the only known treatment. That herb protects the liver from toxins.
 

Adam1stVa

Corporal
Joined
Apr 6, 2020
We have a large immigrant population in our city. A number of years ago an entire family was poisoned after they picked and ate Death cap and Destroying Angel. Both are in the Amanita family. The poison slowly shuts down the liver and kidneys. And, I just read that Milk Thistle is one of the only known treatment. That herb protects the liver from toxins.
One is reminded of Christopher McCandless in the true-life movie "Into the Wild". He didn't eat mushrooms but it was roots and plants that were poisonous, and he went through 2 weeks of agony before he died curled up in his sleeping bag.
 

KianGaf

Sergeant
Joined
May 29, 2019
Location
Dublin, Ireland
I’d do love a mushroom. The finest dish for a mushroom in my book comes from the Italians. A mushroom Risotto is a really tasty use of a mushroom wild ones are best if they can be procured. The combination is just delicious. A stuffed flat mushroom doesn’t be bad either.
 

farrargirl

Corporal
Joined
Jul 9, 2017
Location
Baldwin County, on the Alabama Gulf Coast
One is reminded of Christopher McCandless in the true-life movie "Into the Wild". He didn't eat mushrooms but it was roots and plants that were poisonous, and he went through 2 weeks of agony before he died curled up in his sleeping bag.
Slightly off the mushroom thread, but the original 1966 book, by Jon Krakauer, is amazing. As a mother, it definitely broke my heart...
 

Mrs. V

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
May 5, 2017
If you are lucky and live near a wooded area, you might find morel mushrooms. A few years ago my Mom lucked into some fresh ones. She sauteed them with a bit of butter and said they were delishious. I’ve reconstituted dried morels and they were good too.
 

Kurt G

Sergeant Major
Joined
May 23, 2018
If you are lucky and live near a wooded area, you might find morel mushrooms. A few years ago my Mom lucked into some fresh ones. She sauteed them with a bit of butter and said they were delishious. I’ve reconstituted dried morels and they were good too.
I agree on morels . They are very easy to identify and are delicious , but it wasn't a great year for them in Michigan.
 

Mrs. V

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
May 5, 2017
I agree on morels . They are very easy to identify and are delicious , but it wasn't a great year for them in Michigan.
There is a mushroom that is poisonous that resembles the morel. But morels cap is really different looking. I’d not heard that morel hunting wasn’t good in Michigan this year. Although this year the guy who does heavy maint. At the cottage didn’t bring any fresh ones for my Mom.
 

Kurt G

Sergeant Major
Joined
May 23, 2018
There is a mushroom that is poisonous that resembles the morel. But morels cap is really different looking. I’d not heard that morel hunting wasn’t good in Michigan this year. Although this year the guy who does heavy maint. At the cottage didn’t bring any fresh ones for my Mom.
The false morel isn't completely hollow like the regular one so it's easy to identify . No one I talked to had much luck this year . One person found a few black morels early in the season and a family member who usually has a lot of whites on his property had none this year .
 
Joined
Aug 25, 2013
Location
Hannover, Germany
I would love to able to pick wild mushrooms. They have so much more flavour than the generic white button mushrooms. I’m sensible enough to leave it to the experts though.
Same here!!
We live in an excellent mushroom area. In fact, when I was a kid, my Grandpa went mushroom hunting with us and we always found enough for a big pan of fried mushrooms. My Grandma would fry them with onions and a little bacon and add cream and make some dumplings to serve with the mushrooms. Delicious!! But since my Granddad has passed I never dared to go out and find mushrooms myself. I just know too little about the poisonous ones.
In the woods hereabouts we also have large quantities of blueberries. We picked whole buckets full of them when I was a kid, but now there is a pretty fair chance that the larvae of a parasite sit on these blueberries - spread by foxes. The risk to pick and eat them and get that parasite now is just too big. Sometimes I pity today's kids - it had been so exciting to just make a little excursion on Sunday and find your dinner outdoors, in the woods, including dessert!
 

Kurt G

Sergeant Major
Joined
May 23, 2018
Same here!!
We live in an excellent mushroom area. In fact, when I was a kid, my Grandpa went mushroom hunting with us and we always found enough for a big pan of fried mushrooms. My Grandma would fry them with onions and a little bacon and add cream and make some dumplings to serve with the mushrooms. Delicious!! But since my Granddad has passed I never dared to go out and find mushrooms myself. I just know too little about the poisonous ones.
In the woods hereabouts we also have large quantities of blueberries. We picked whole buckets full of them when I was a kid, but now there is a pretty fair chance that the larvae of a parasite sit on these blueberries - spread by foxes. The risk to pick and eat them and get that parasite now is just too big. Sometimes I pity today's kids - it had been so exciting to just make a little excursion on Sunday and find your dinner outdoors, in the woods, including dessert!
One of my favorite childhood memories was picking morels with my Grandfather and then him cooking them on an old wood stove . There were also blackberries on an old logging road , but the bears seemed to get to them first.
 

KianGaf

Sergeant
Joined
May 29, 2019
Location
Dublin, Ireland
Same here!!
We live in an excellent mushroom area. In fact, when I was a kid, my Grandpa went mushroom hunting with us and we always found enough for a big pan of fried mushrooms. My Grandma would fry them with onions and a little bacon and add cream and make some dumplings to serve with the mushrooms. Delicious!! But since my Granddad has passed I never dared to go out and find mushrooms myself. I just know too little about the poisonous ones.
In the woods hereabouts we also have large quantities of blueberries. We picked whole buckets full of them when I was a kid, but now there is a pretty fair chance that the larvae of a parasite sit on these blueberries - spread by foxes. The risk to pick and eat them and get that parasite now is just too big. Sometimes I pity today's kids - it had been so exciting to just make a little excursion on Sunday and find your dinner outdoors, in the woods, including dessert!

Things were simpler years ago I reckon , maybe it’s social media and cell phones messing things up. I remember in the summer months going to my family down the countryside to get turf in the bog ( turf is dried soil in rectangles used for fires and heating) it was big rural tradition but has passed due to new regulations . It was hard work but sure was satisfying on a hot summer day and the smell when it burned was amazing . Simple outdoor pursuits seem to less fashionable these days.
 

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