Taco, I Can’t Quit You

Bruce was having trouble posting a comment on my “Goodbye, Year of the Taco” post.

“What did you want to say?” I asked, being that I was now standing beside him in person and could simply accept the comment first-hand.

“I was going to ask why the Year of the Taco has to end.”

“Well,” I replied, “It doesn’t really end. That was more for the narrative and thematic purposes of my blog.”

He looked puzzled, but the answer seemed to comfort him.

The kids and I on the hunt — the prized lion's mane!

The kids and I on the hunt — the prized bear’s head!

As it happened, we were at Bruce and my mother’s house deep in the forest of Sonoma’s Russian River Valley for our annual holiday visit, and there would be tacos on the menu. Our second evening there, we had a crab feast. The next day, the leftover crab made for a perfect lunch of one of my favorite tacos. More

Loons, Leccinum & Leftovers — Skinny Girls Roadshow LIVE from Big Wolf, NY

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It was our fifth night at the Buck Summerhill Camp in Big Wolf. And they were sick of my cooking, I could tell.

“We’re going to have a fridge tilt tonight!” Nancy announced, explaining the camp tradition of a big dinner to clear out leftovers and uneaten stuff. “So you can have a night off.”

I imagined them whispering in the bedroom:

Nancy: “Can you possibly choke down another of his ‘gourmet’ dinners??” More

Adirondack Lake Life — Skinny Girls Roadshow LIVE from Big Wolf, NY

We arrived at the lake, the last destination and second half of our epic East Coast road trip, on the eve of Independence Day. It felt uniquely American, crossing the border from distinctly French Quebec, to be winding along northeast country roads, past farms and cottages and through quaint villages, adorned with American flags, one and all.

Sunset on the lake

Sunset on the lake

It had been raining on and off all week in the Adirondacks, and one of the first things I noticed walking the Buck Summerhill Camp at Big Wolf Lake was a mushroom — a surprising revelation for a summer day. On a July 4 morning walk, up with the sun, I found not only Lost Pond but also a bag full of mushrooms — including several birch boletes, some black trumpets and a single lovely porcini. More

Matsutake Memories

Fungi is a fickle kingdom. Predicting where and when a particular mushroom will grow is like betting on the stock market.

Willa with amanita coccora — the only edible mushroom in a family of deadly beauties

Willa with amanita coccora — the only edible mushroom in a family of deadly beauties

Some mushrooms appear only in years with late soaking rain, others only when there is an early rain followed by a dry spell followed by another rain. Some mushrooms only grow where there is something dead under the dirt, while others cannibalize nearby poisonous mushrooms, transforming them into prized edibles. More

Skinny Girls Roadshow from Sonoma — Hunting the Pine Mushroom

I like the thrill of the hunt. But not one for killing animals or dealing with blood, I mostly limit my hunting to wild mushrooms in the woods and groovy cowboy shirts at thrift stores. It was the former that had my wife and I up to our ears in Sonoma pine duff, hunting the elusive matsutake.

Orange jelly fungus

Orange jelly fungus

“Matsutake” translates as “pine mushroom,” since they often grow in symbiotic relationship with pines. “Take” is Japanese for mushroom, while “matsu” means pine — I have a friend named Kazue Matsunaga. I’m not sure what the “naga” part is, but she’s got something to do with pine trees. She’s a “Pine naga-er,” I guess. More

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