Dateline: 16 May 2013
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My middle son, Robert, quit his job as a mechanic at an auto dealership after working there only a year. He was bored. So he went back to work for a local man who has a maple syrup operation. The guy makes maple syrup on a grand scale. This year he boiled down around eight thousand gallons of syrup. That's a lotta maple syrup, and it requires a lotta man-hours of work in the woods, installing and maintaining the sap lines. So instead of working indoors on cars, my son is in the great outdoors. This morning he told me he's working on installing a "main line" up through a gully. It's work that he enjoys.
Robert told me a few days ago that the man he works with loves morel mushrooms, and this is the time of year to find them in the woods. I told Robert that I didn't think morels grew in these parts because I've never in my life seen them. I used to roam the woods around here quite a bit in my teen years, and I knew about morels back then, but I never saw one. Robert insisted that his coworker was finding them. He said they grow where there are ash and elm trees (not maple trees). I said I'd be really surprised if he found any.
So I was working in my shop a couple days ago, in the late afternoon, making Whizbang chicken plucker parts, and Robert walked in to inform me that he had found a patch of morel mushrooms on our new land. I expressed skepticism and he produced his phone to show me pictures. I was amazed. "Show me where they are." I declared, and we headed straight away into the woods.
Sure enough, there was a patch of yellow morels right here in our own woods. And these pictures show them.
Last night Robert picked 4 morels and cooked them. He cleaned them, sliced them in half, coated them with flour and fried them in butter. He seasoned them with salt and pepper. Him and Marlene and I ate our first morels. Robert announced that they were "pretty good." I said they were "not bad." Marlene didn't say much. We ended up dipping them in Ranch salad dressing. They were better that way.
Last year Marlene and I cooked up our first puffball mushroom—a wild delicacy that many people rave about—and we decided that we didn't really like puffballs. Now we've had morels and, though they were, in our opinion, much better than puffballs, they aren't something we're real excited about eating again. But Robert has plans to cook more. Next time he intends to fry them longer, so they're a bit more crispy.