Jim and I just got back from a trip to Ohio where I gave a slide presentation to my Ohio garden club (www.RedbudGardenClub.org), of which I am still a member. The subject was my new life down here in TN. I shared many personal photos of plants and animals — surprisingly many of which were mushrooms and other fungi, which I find particularly beautiful. The diversity is simply amazing.
Serendipity — the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.
This is a story of serendipity and it starts with a present. Jim and I stayed with our long-time friends Jim and Bonnie Neidhart. Knowing that I have an interest in mushrooms (several years ago they had taken us to their son, Paul’s, farm to teach us about morel mushrooms), Bonnie gave me a wonderful book called Start Mushrooming – The easiest Way to Start Collecting 6 Edible Mushrooms, by Stan Tekiela and Karen Shanberg.
Upon returning home, it was a beautiful sunny fall day and Jim and I decided to hike in our woods. I was sitting to take a rest on the top of the ridge and Jim motioned me over to see his latest discovery — a bright orange, bracket-like growth on a tree. It was very impressive and unforgettable.
When we got back home, I got a coffee and started looking through the Start Mushrooming book to relax. Almost immediately, I saw a color photo of the same orange growth that we had just seen! It was called a Sulfur Shelf and it is actually edible! It was one of the six “easiest to identify” mushrooms that are edible for a beginner to start collecting.
A few days later, I went back and harvested the lower, more tender shelves. I simply sautéed them in butter then made a light cream sauce which I served over couscous. See my photos.
The thrill of it all still has not left me. It was so neat to have discovered this beautiful mushroom and have the confidence that I could actually safely eat it — all because of the book that Jim and Bonnie gave us.
Life is an Adventure.