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A good spore

Just add tangerine trees and marmalade skies

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I often comment about weather in my column because it can have such a great impact in what we eat and how we cook. For instance, this crazy warm and wet spell we’ve been having is prime mushroom growing weather. And oh how I like mushrooms. 

However, my patience has been tested this season. Last spring the husband put in a lovely new lawn from scratch. Which means he scraped out all the old dirt, replaced it with new soil, added sod and peat moss. He then sprinkled in grass seed, fertilizer, waited a few months — badda boom, badda bing — beautiful new lawn. We were so proud.


I say “were” because the company we bought the sod from neglected to tell us that it was cow manure, filled with decomposing matter and tons of mushroom spores.  So now my once beautiful green lawn looks like a frickin’ set from some LSD-induced Sid and Marty Krofft TV show. It is a magical mushroom land. Literally. 


I hate them. They have taken over my whole yard, but with proper marketing and promotion I could probably make a lot of money. My brother-in-law (who is efficient in all things intoxicating) claims these are “blue ringers.”  A few friends have tried them with little effect. I think they are supposed to be dried first? I like fully functioning kidneys, so I will pass.


We are truly fortunate here in the Northwest with mega mushrooms bounty. If you do go looking for yourself, bring a guidebook with you and never consume a mushroom unless you are 100 percent it won’t kill you or make you sick. The holidays are around the corner, and you really don’t want to bum your family out by being comatose.


Let me save you the trouble and send you to Stadium Thriftway, at least for Chanterelles. They have the best price in town at $9.99 a pound, and Nate the produce manager claims it will stay that way as long as this warm, damp weather persists. 


I was fortunate to enjoy some tasty Chanterelles at Primo Grill a few weeks back. It was so simple, but extraordinary at the same time. By my guess, Chef Charlie McManus took sautéed garlic, chopped Chanterelles and tomatoes, possibly a touch of white wine to deglaze the garlic, added spaghetti noodles, then topped with fresh basil and parmesan cheese.


The only thing that elevated this meal was a lovely glass of Domaine Drouhin Laforêt Chardonnay. This wine is a classic and one of my favorite whites. Fantastic with light fare, this unoaked Chardonnay from Burgundy is crisp and dry as a bone, yet lively and full of fruit. Best of all, it is highly affordable at $12 a bottle retail.


So perhaps it is just better to find mushrooms at our local stores, restaurants or in my yard. Otherwise you will have to deal with lots of driving, hiking in mud, and/or possible death. And who wants that.  


Eat out, Tacoma. We need your love.

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