Random Russula Dinner

Barnaby Dellar bpd at dcs.ed.ac.uk
Sat Sep 9 09:44:25 EST 1995

Jim Berlstein writes:

> Greetings fellow mycophiles,
>       While walking my Great Danes through a lovely stretch of urban 
> seattle woods, I have noticed that it looks like a good beginning to 
> mushroom season. I have found a few chanterelles here, and a spirasis 
> crispa as well.  However, the woods are dominated by russulas.  Yesterday 
> I came upon a group of Asian immigrants filling there buckets with 
> virtually every species of russula they could find.  They apparently eat 
> all of them, and have done so before.  This is not the first time I have 
> seen this approach to mushroom hunting.  They did not include the common 
> Aminita Pantherina in thier buckets, which was a relief to me.  I showed 
> them my chanterelles, which they were not familiar with.  I will try and 
> see what species of russulas are available, as I am curious to see if I 
> can identify any poisonous species in my little woods. Normally, except 
> for Xerampilina I ignore this genus as much as possible.  Are others 
> familiar with this random russula approach to mushroom hunting?  I have 
> seen it practiced on at least 5 occaisons, and always by immigrants from 
> Asia.  While I do think that the typical mycophobic American attitude is 
> silly, this non-discriminating approach seems to take mycophilia a bit 
> too far.  Has anyone heard of poisonings occuring to this group of bold 
> mushroomers?

There are some poisonous russulas - mostly red-capped ones. 

But yes, I have picked random russulas. Some of them are a bit bland, and some are
quite peppery, but I've never found enough of just one species to merit collecting
them individually. This is in Scotland, by the way. I don't know what sort of
poisonous russulas you get anywhere else.

Barnaby Dellar.

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