The Orange-Brown Lactarius (1/5)

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Large quantities of white milk flow from this mushroom when it is broken open. The French call it “Little cow.” This milk is a peculiarity it shares with other Lactarius mushrooms we shall meet later on. Be­ginners will find it a godsend because none of the mushrooms with milk are poisonous, although some of them are too bitter to be eaten. How can the good-tasting ones be recognized? It is the simplest thing in the world: put a tiny piece on the tip of your tongue and you will soon find out! If all goes well you can go ahead and pick without fear.

Cap                    Red and downy, darker toward the center. Convex becoming funnel-shaped. Average 111 to 4 inches across. The flesh turns brown when cut.

Gills                  Adnate, unequal, crowded. cream with brown patches.

Spores              White.

Stem                  Cylindrical, cream near the gills red lower down, firm. Neither volva nor ring.

Habitat            Woods.

Season              Summer.

Special             Gives a sweet-smelling, white milk when broken.


Recipes            May be eaten raw. Can be included in salads or

served with fresh cream flavored with a teaspoon of lemon juice. Lightly browned in oil with chopped shal­lots it goes well with roast pork. Pickled in vinegar you can eat it in the same way as gherkins.

A country recipe for the Delicious Milky Cap is also good for this one. Grill them with the caps bottom side up over hot charcoal, or better still over the glowing embers of vine prunings * Sprinkle a few drops of olive oil, salt. and pepper on the gills, and do not forget a speck of garlic.

Mushrooms were probably known to man from the very beginning of time. There is documentary evidence, however, only as far back as the fifth century 13 c. The celebrated Greek physician Hippocrates tells us that in his time mushrooms were used as medicine. The Ro­man poets Martial and Juvenal were fond of eating and they very much appreciated the taste of mushrooms. Later on, in the first cen­tury A.D., a Greek doctor wrote an important book on the use of mushrooms in medicine. He pointed out that even the best of them may prove to be difficult to digest if they are not eaten in moderation. For good measure he gives a decidedly original recipe for greedy people who have eaten too much of this delicious food, and here it is: make a mixture of honey and dried poultry droppings ground to a pow­der, then moisten the mix with a few drops of vinegar We sup­pose that anyone swallowing this mixture would quickly be relieved of his pains . and of his mushrooms too!


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