Dear Liza,

It is ironic that we have gotten to know more of our neighbors during the Covid quarantine. We exchange baked goodies with John and Stacy across the way, and have waved at tiny baby Jack, born just a few weeks ago.

And we have gotten to know Jason. He is a chef for one of the local restaurants and has been very generous with his supply of mushrooms. Since I am pretty much a mushroom new-comer, this is very exciting.

Dried Candy Top mushrooms

First he gave us a small bag of dried Candy Tops. These are tiny and brown, and look very much like the forests I walked through as a kid, camping by the Rogue River. They are a species that only grows here in Oregon, and are highly prized because of their unusual smell. If you close your eyes, you could swear you were sniffing a bottle of maple syrup! Jason directed me to some on-line sites and there are a dozen recipes for Candy Top caramel, cookies, and other goodies.

Giant Chantarelles

And then came the Chantarelles. These are more widely known, and even I had heard of them. Large, fat, and meaty, these have a more traditional mushroom taste. I cooked them up in plenty of butter and a bit of pepper and oregano and made a nice mushroom sauce for our Turkey burgers last night.

It makes perfect sense that in this wet, cool season, the forests should produce such a mushroom bounty. Mushroom hunting can be a dangerous thing, though, because poisonous mushrooms often look like wholesome ones. We are so blessed that our neighbors, who know which is which, share theirs with us.

Ain’t life grand?

Wild mushrooms in Laurelhurst Park


Grandma Judy