The lawnmower wheels barely missed the fungi shaped like small, deformed penises. I hit the brakes and stared down at the four growths, wanting to believe they were the hallowed and much-coveted morel mushrooms.
But trust is a big issue when it comes to mushrooms. My mind raced. Why are they here this year when, in the 13 years weâ€™ve lived at this property, theyâ€™ve never erupted before? Are they really morels or some similar and deadly mushroom? What if we ate them and either went crazy, or died, or both? Would we be found the next day, cold and blue-skinned, with the vestiges of mushroom flecks on our smiling faces? How accurate is Googled advice?
As I pondered the possibilities I continued mowing. Then I spotted another single mushroom standing tall, like a successful Viagra ad, on the edge of the yard. Odd. Very odd. When my husband, a wise man and Eagle Scout of old, arrived home from work I took him out to look at my â€œfinds.â€
â€œDo you think they are morels?â€ I asked.
â€œOh yes. They are definitely morels!â€ he said. I could tell he was excited.
â€œHow, exactly, do you know that?â€
â€œWell, I donâ€™t. But they look like morels.â€ So much for those Boy Scout instincts.
The next day I Googled morel mushrooms and stared at photographs of the real ones, the fake ones, and the seriously â€œoh ohâ€ ones. I read comments and warnings. My conclusion was that even if we ate the fake ones our biggest concern would be digestive disruption, not death. Some commenters actually said theyâ€™ve eaten hundreds of the â€œfakeâ€ morels and never had an issue. Okay.
That night I sautÃ©ed the five morels in butter and garlic. I spooned them over steamed green beans and added a touch of sea salt. As we were about to take out first bite I looked at my husband.
â€œWhatever happens, know I love you.â€
He took my hand. â€œRight back attcha.â€ Nom, nom, nom.
They were DELICIOUS! And, because Iâ€™m still here to talk about it, finding those little deformed penises on the edge of our property was the best part of my day.