I have a story about mushrooms to share with you. We love mushrooms at The Orange Bee. We like them sauteed in butter and garlic, in salads, served with pasta and parmesan, baked, roasted, marinated, grilled, you name it. Miss T is particularly fond of mushrooms and always has been. When she was a little girl her favorite way to eat them was raw, not cooked. Her salad plate consisted of sliced mushrooms, tomatoes and cucumbers. Everyone thought it a bit odd that a little bitty girl would like raw mushrooms, but she did. As her mom I was pleased as punch that she was eating these healthy veggies raw and not drowned in ranch dressing.
A few weeks ago I noticed these beautiful little mushrooms popping up in the yard. We had been blessed with a rain shower or two and these adorable, wild mushrooms burst through the ground. Can’t you just picture a family of J.R.R. Tolkien hobbits hanging out under there watching the goings on of us humans? If they were, they surely were horrified by the motorized vehicle my man Dan was racing around the yard on. I saved this one mushroom from the fate of the lawnmower by racing out to the yard, flailing my arms, squealing like a pig, mirroring a mad woman, just to get the attention of the driver and motion to him not to run over this one. All of this got me to remembering….remembering a special time when Miss T ate mushrooms.
To make a long story short, our family was visiting a friend who was about to do some remodeling. Miss T was roaming around the backyard, with the dogs, as we grownups stood looking through a large paned window into the yard, discussing the plans. Knowing that the yard was securely fenced we were not watching every move that our little girl, she was about 6 at the time, was making. Suddenly we heard the kitchen door slam and heard Miss T calling, “mom, mom”. As I turned to respond to her voice she rounded the corner, with a big smile and proudly announced, “Mom, I just ate mushrooms!”. Now, what you must understand is, normally that comment would illicit a favorable response, you know for eating nice, healthy vegetables and all. What do you think happened next?
On this occasion my response was one of alarm! “Ate mushrooms? You did not!”, was my comeback. She answered with, “YES I did!”, still so dad gum happy about it. I called her closer and bent over, near her mouth and said, “let me smell your breath”. She exhaled a long breath, replete with the smell of fresh, raw mushrooms. Having heard horror stories of people eating poison mushrooms all I could shout in a panicky voice was “EEEE gads, somebody call poison control, NOW”.
Poison control instructed us to rush her to the closest hospital after having her drink syrup of Ipecac. Our friend being a bachelor, had no syrup of Ipecac lying around, and so began the mad dash to find an open pharmacy, in an unfamiliar neighborhood, on a Sunday afternoon, to purchase a bottle. We did have the foresight to grab a bucket on the way out the door. We found a pharmacy, bought the bottle of syrup, poured it down her throat followed by a 7-Up, had the bucket ready, and raced for the nearest hospital. The entire drive to the hospital Miss T was happy a clam, feeling no pain, just a tad ticked off for having been made to drink that nasty syrup, and continually hold a bucket in her lap. Not to mention the unfavorable response she suffered for eating wild mushrooms. Turns out we didn’t need the bucket until we had been in the waiting room of the ER for a while, at which time I grabbed a trash can at just the right moment to handle the outcome of drinking syrup of Ipecac!
After a seven hour stretch, at the ER, complete with forcing a fighting and kicking 6-year-old to down a couple of cups of charcoal, we were brought up to speed on the truth about poison mushrooms. The doctors conferred and determined, we don’t really have poisonous mushrooms in Texas! By now we were all starving, sick of being in the hall- way at the hospital. Yes, we were situated on a bed in the hallway, that should have been our first clue that they weren’t too concerned about this little girl who ate the wild mushrooms.
The moral of my story? I wouldn’t know a poisonous mushroom from a safe one in the wild. No matter the doctor’s diagnosis on mushrooms I’m sticking to the ones I can buy at the farmer’s market or the grocery store. As for the ones growing in my yard, I think they make lovely photos!
While we’re on the subject of mushrooms let’s look at what is good about them. Mushrooms are low in calories, fat-free, cholesterol-free and very low in sodium, yet they provide important nutrients, including selenium, potassium, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin D and more. Mushrooms are the leading source of the essential antioxidant selenium in the produce aisle. Antioxidants, like selenium, protect body cells from damage that might lead to chronic diseases. They help to strengthen the immune system, as well. In addition, mushrooms provide ergothioneine, a naturally occurring antioxidant that may help protect the body’s cells. You can read more about the benefits of mushrooms here.
I have a busy week coming up as I know most of you do. Planning, shopping, cleaning, baking, etc…I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving now, as I can’t be sure another post will make its way to the blog until after the holiday.