Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Mushroom Hunt!

Mushroom as we all know is a kind of fungus. As such, it trives especially well in Summer together with the rain! The best time to go mushroom picking would be a few days after the rain stops, just enough time for the fungus to sprout from the earth.

We did manage to harvest quite some mushrooms, small ones though whilst the insects already beaten us to the bigger and matured ones.

It was quite an experience for me, a city dweller whose encounter with mushrooms are limited to either that at the supermarket or those grown in farms.

Here, in the wild, we had to literally pick our ways through the forest - brushing through prinkling branches, uneven grounds, sometimes even steep declines just to pick that one golden mushroom 'shimmering' in the faint sunlight. And of course, the eyes must be trained to spot the tiny mushrooms hidden amidst the dead leaves, fallen branches and similarly coloured earth.

At the end of our somewhat satisfatory harvest, we treated ourselves to some Jause, bread and hot drinks. Jause is a typical snack served in higher altitudes and consist mainly of thick slabs of fatty air-dried meat, thinly sliced hams, cheeses and gherkins. In the past, it is a fatty diet, an ideal one in fact for workers dealing with labour-intensive work in the harsh climate at higher altitudes. Now, it is tradition passed down and a form of comfort food which should only be indulged occasionally.

And lastly, a joke we often share whenever the topic of mushrooms crops up:

The last words from a mushroom picker are: "Those...I do not recognise..."

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