Thursday, May 3, 2012

Dropping her skirt in public

Dear Mushroom Fans,
        Here she is in all her glory. I say she because she showed all the characteristics of the female of the species.
        First she appeared over night in our Cape Town garden dressed in white just like a bride.
        A day later – well I won’t tell you just yet what she did then. Suffice to say it was not very ladylike.
       Being Mushroom lovers you’ll know who I am talking about. She is Coprinus Comatus, the choicest of her ink cap group with the not too complimentary common names of Shaggy Mane (not Shagging Dame) or Lawyer’s Wig.
       As high as 15 cm they grow in lawns and especially in recently turned soil.
       Trying to identify the lady I contacted a mushroom farm where I was told, I wouldn’t eat it if I was you.
They could not have been more wrong.
        It is described in all the reference books as perfectly edible, in fact delicious.
        But watch out for her cousin Coprinus Atramentarius. She is a real smoothy, but not nearly as beautiful as Comatus and she has a particularly wicked streak.
Her pet hate is alcoholism, in fact anybody who even touches the stuff.
        Although she is perfectly edible, don’t try taking something as mild as a glass of wine when she is on the menu. You’ll know all about the evils of drink if she catches up with your tipple.
        The mixture induces alarming symptoms like vomiting, palpitations and you’ll go red in the face. You’ll think you have eaten a poisonous toadstool and are about to meet your maker.
        But it’s not as bad as you might think. It’s just that because she doesn’t like boozers she has made her own antidote, but it’s not lethal.  It is similar to Antabuse, a drug used to treat alcoholism.
           Could they be the answer to South Africa' s drunk driving problem? The Government could feed them to the Nation for free.
       To get back to the lifestyle of that beauty I started with.
On the second night, without batting an eyelid, she dropped her skirt and ended up with an immaculate bob hairstyle. What was left of the skirt appeared as a black ring round her ankles.
        The next night rain turned her hair into what most women look like after they have been in the shower.
        In the next day or two she aged rapidly and withered away as she spread her spores all over the place to produce the next generation of delicious, edible mushrooms that look too deadly for most people to try.
        Your food lover,
        Jon, who is busy heating up the frying pan ready for the babies.

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