You know that saying “There’s no such thing as a free lunch”? Whoever came up with this saying has clearly never been mushroom hunting…. Or perhaps I should say mushroom foraging. Hunting implies a level of effort that may actually count as working for your lunch, thereby compromising its “free” status.
While there are some mushrooms for which (I am told) you do actually need to hunt, the chanterelles I found in my parent’s yard this weekend were most definitely not in that category. In fact, against the mossy green backdrop from which they emerged, their vivid coral hue all but shouted HERE I AM – HAVE AT ME!!
And so I did.
Wait a minute, you may be thinking. Are you sure that’s what that color means?
Good question. Deep in the recesses of my once-hunter-gatherer brain, I was wondering the same thing myself. Because traditionally, organisms that advertise such bright colors are usually trying to tell us something much different — something more along the lines of, oh, I don’t know… I CONTAIN LETHAL TOXINS. EAT ME AND YOU SHALL SURELY PERISH.
So yeah, that was a possibility.