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Monday, December 12, 2011

Magic mushrooms


  1. So nice reading this about mushrooms. We didn't find them growing much where I lived a child on the coast (too sandy)but we still often pick them on our morning walks at Warrane. They are so exquisite to look at when fresh, and smell wonderful. Finding mushrooms is always tinged with a feeling of magic, perhaps because of the way they appear so suddenly. I watch out for them, but often am fooled by a sheep's skull, also white and round! I'd like to know more about fungi -the Chinese seem to be so knowledgable about this food and medicine source, as they are with all foods. The ones that grow on tree bark, for instance.
    These days, there are never as many mushrooms at Warrane as there were 15 years ago. I wonder if the spores are being destroyed by fertilisers or something..

    Those poisonous ones with pure white gills look so perfect, don't they. Some day it will no doubt be found that they are a miracle cure for some malady.

    As for 'magic mushrooms', just as well you children avoided them, but I've tried them in my youth and yes, they make you feel sick, but they also change your whole perception of the world -weirdly and wonderfully. I wouldn't do it now, though :)

  2. An eternity ago, in a small rural town in Northern NSW which was withering away on dying dairy and timber industries, the counter culture arrived, and many of paid a visit and even stayed a while.

    Waiting on the grassy knoll opposite the pub one sunny afternoon in the place designated to pick up a lift to the local commune, I watched bemusedly as a bedraggled, unshod and very unwashed member of our species (I hoped), sat outside the pub clutching a paper bag. He held it up to passing pedestrians to inspect occasionally, but then spied me in the park across the road and ambled over. He held the bag open in front of me, and showed me the gold top mushroom inside: "This a magic mushroom?" he inquired without any formalities. "Yes it is" I informed him. Hearing this, he immediately reached into the bag, grabbed the thing, and put it straight into his mouth. "Thanks" he mumbled as wandered off to his patch of footpath outside the Nimbin pub.

    Those were the days before I used a very good field guide to Australian fungi to select a local species of Lepiota which bloomed in huge rings during the wet season and made many a good meal.

    What became of the bag man? Well he was still alive the next time I saw him, which was a relief to me at least.

  3. Julia and chrispydog - thanks for your comments - you both have had some experience with the varieties that it would never have occurred to us to touch. Probably it was well drummed into us. Our favourite was to fry them in butter and put them on fresh toast. We didn't like them raw and we weren't keen on the 'white' part. We wanted the flavoursome gill areas.

    I'm glad your trippy bag man [and you, trippy Julie of the hippie era!] seem to have been none the worse for the experiences.

  4. I think it's interesting that you peel the mushrooms. I'll try that sometime (and I'll bring you some next time I find fresh ones). One time we had visitors from Israel at Warrane,and on a walk found an absolute swathe of fresh mushrooms; we gathered bagfuls and Orit, the woman,made them into a salad. (I didn't like it :)) Yes, fried for me! My friends and I all survived the magic mushroom experience (I never heard of anyone who didn't but perhaps there were some) and btw none of us were unwashed, bedraggled or shoeless!

  5. Raw mushrooms never appealed to me as doesn't raw fish. To me they add nothing much to a salad but appearance. There's a very simple method for doing them in the microwave for the shop-bought ones (cover your eyes, Joan!) which is quicker and simpler than grilling or frying.

    I'm very disappointed to find that you were not 'unwashed, bedraggled or shoeless,' Julie. What sort of hippie doesn't fit that description?!

  6. By the way - coming back to the great story by my pal Chrispydog - Nimbin is such an odd little place, isn't it? Or it was when I last saw it long ago. An entire generation has gone from real hippiedom with all its ideals and illusions into old age. I wonder if the town also has. I wonder if anyone has ever written a sociology of Nimbin's last half century?


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