The first mushroom bonanza formed the idea of the thing, created a precedent for all others. They were aspen boletes, which I never saw in the wild but W. hunted on a glacier trail in Juneau last year with a friend. They went back armed with loads of cardboard boxes and filled them all. It took days to clean and dry them all, a year to eat the small concentrated bag we took with us to Madison. While they were drying, while others were waiting on newspapers and in boxes to be dried, we ate a Slavic yogurt soup with mushrooms floating in it; it could not be simpler or more divine.
Because of that the boletes were the Ur-mushroom in my mind. As you know the porcino, queen of mushrooms, is a bolete. So about a month ago, when I discovered a wood that was scattered with them — all over, so many underfoot I couldn’t help but step on some of them — I thought my life charmed. I discovered the boletes at the same time as the mosquitos discovered me, Continue reading