Here’s more from my dad about his dad and mom and they’re adventures mushrooming…
Back on the logs in the Napa woods, we began to have lunch. One would cut a chunk of salami and give a chunk to all of us passing them around between his thumb and the knife blade then one would cut a chunk of cheese and the bread. I guess I was eating real fast and Barney with his thick Italian accent said “Bobby slow down, we have plenty of food.” They all laughed, and I was a little embarrassed, but I was real hungry. So, that was a trip to the Napa woods with four wonderful men.
Early summer that year, my folks opened up their cabin in the El Dorado forest. My dad said we could go mushrooming when the ground warmed a little more. I wanted to go right then. My dad just shook his head, no.
The day came and we got our sacks and we hiked through through the forest. My dad said that the mushrooms were a little different, but good. Now we were looking for bumps in the pine needles. My dad was finding them everywhere. All I was doing was uncovering rocks. I was real frustrated when I came across a large bump in the needles. I carefully took the needles off and there was this thing that was green and fuzzy. I didn’t want to touch it. I called my dad over and with his reserved manner, he expressed pleasure. He said that my mom would be pleased! That’s all I needed to hear; I couldn’t wait to get back to the cabin and show my mom.
My dad was cleaning the mushrooms he found on the side deck and my mom and I were sitting on the main deck. The river was roaring below us so loud that we had to yell when talking to my dad because of his World War I injury; he didn’t hear very well. My mom had a paring knife and scraped the large stem until it was white. Then with her skilled hands she slipped the blade under the fuzzy top and pulled it off. There it was, a good pound of pure white wild mushroom. I was very proud.
She cut a little off and ate it nodding with approval. Then she cut me a chunk and gave it to me between her thumb and knife blade just like my dad’s friends. I eagerly began eating it then stood and spit it out up over the deck railing. Then I angrily yelled at her “You tricked me!!!” It was loud enough that my dad looked around the corner and I shrunk a little. She said “No, no. Come.”
We went in the kitchen and she fired up the big griddle, butter and a thin slice of the mushroom with salt and pepper. It really smelled good. She put it on a small plate with a fork. She said “Mangia!” (Italian for eat) but, I was reluctant and she said again “Mangia!” Well, it was really good! Then I said, “That’s why your sauce is so good!” She said “That’s one thing.”