Morel Tales: the culture of mushrooming

I did not realise the culture of mushrooming in the USA was such a very social activity. But looking up confirms that it is. Nor did I fully understand that searching for mushrooms was so intensely cooperative.

I have only ever done any mushrooming in Sweden, and always alone. In matters of mushrooms, Swedes are very protective of their local knowledge of where mushrooms grow in abundance. There is a Swedish Mycological Society but is is primarily educative: “a national society aiming to promote the knowledge of fungi”, with a list of societies. Gävle is a city in Southern Norrland, where I lived for many years before retiring, yet I searched in vain for a Gävle Mycological Society. There isn’t one.

In any event, I went mushrooming in the pine forests outside Gävle, getting there by public transport. I am never comfortable in the Swedish forests. They are dense and easy to get lost in, and have lynx, bear and elk. Yet sections are clear-felled and left to grow again. It is often said that the forests are Sweden’s Green Gold.

I only looked for chanterelle mushrooms. And I soon learned where to look – the deep mossy areas are the most promising. After a couple of hours I take them home and go through them, leave them to dry by the oven method.

Fine’s book explores the many ways in which natural and the social interact and relate to one another. There is a book review in Symbolic Interaction August 2000 Vol. 23 Issue 2,  pp. 211-213.

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