A frilled, quilled collar, a mushroomy odor… Must be a mushroom out of history!
Co-worker and friend Kate Carone has dug up 19th century Oregonian articles that mention or focus on mushrooms in the Multnomah County Public Library archives. We are combing through and will post excerpts from our favorites periodically. This is the first post in our series Mushroom Out of History.
October 17, 1898. Author unknown.
MORE EDIBLE FUNGUS
James Barbare Brings in a Variety New to Portlanders
Quite of a number of new species of edible fungus have been introduced to the notice of the people of Portland during the past two or three years by Dr. Harry Lane and other mushroom experts.
The most remarkable of all these species was brought in a day or two since by Joseph Barbare, an old-time residents and caterer of Portland, who is now living on a ranch in Clark county, Washington. Mr. Barbare, who wished to contribute his quota to the dissemination of useful knowledge, carried this strange fungus in a sack over his shoulder 40 miles, to exhibit it here. It is called alozine by scientists, grows on decaying stumps generally, and frequently to great size. The specimen brought in by Mr. Barbare resembled one of the frilled, quilled and ruffled collars which women sometimes wear around their necks. It was large enough to fill a big dishpan, and looked as if it had been stamped out of maccaroni paste rolled out thin. It had a mushroomy odor, and when, after being parboiled, was fried in butter and some parsley sparkled over it, was “edible.”
In countries where bread and food of all kinds is not so plentiful as in Oregon, anything which can be eaten without risk to one’s health is accounted edible and wholesome, but no one after eating a dish of this alozine would be likely to get up in the night and start out with a lantern in the rain, slopping through the wet grass, hunting for more.
Of all the fungi which have been seen in the market, and which are pronounced wholesome, morels, agaricas, boletus, or what not, none have the delicious aroma or flavor of the old meadow mushroom.
[Image from William Herbst’s Fungal Flora of the Lehigh Valley, Pa., Allentown, PA: Berkemeyer, Keck, 1899 (BioDiv Library). This is not the mushroom mentioned in the Oregonian article (although I really don’t know what the “alozine” mushroom is), but it does have the feeling of a ruffled collar. Anyone have thoughts on which mushroom the “alozine” is?]