Sake Gumi

I love mushrooms. They're strange, beautiful, alien creatures and usually a common motif in my own work. They are such a contrast-- cute, but deadly; delicate, but powerful.

I also love eating them although that happens not so commonly. In contrast to the Tokyo supermarkets being full of many different freshly wrapped shrooms ready for the evening table hotpot, a Danish shop only carries champignons. If you're lucky.

So when my Mile High (Dining) Club friend asked if  I wanted to go mushroom hunting this Sunday, I was excited. Our plan was to find yellow chanterelles or some other edible mushroom to make our own Scandinavian version of okonomiyaki.


The food hunting destination was a classic Sunday walking scene for Copenhageners: the old Dyrehaven north of the city, only 20 minutes on the local train. Not the best day to go hunting as it was terribly crowded with straight breeders and their larvae, noisy jogging jerks and gay horse riders with a serious attitude.

However, if you walk long enough you eventually get rid of the plebs and can retract into the amazingly beautiful fall scenes of red, orange and gold.


You're never alone though. Dyrehaven is inhabited by Bambi and his family in great numbers. Walking around is like being in a 1940's Disney movie. Deers everywhere grassing, mating and fighting-- it's honestly quite entertaining watching the stags howl, stomp their feet and crash their antlers into each other. This one's got his eye on you:


The lonesome warrior:


So back to the hunting. Which did not turn out well.

I'm not sure whether it's because we're in late October or because the first 17,000 Retired Lady Mushroom Picker Clubs have vacuumed the entire forest floor every weekend since August. But the place was a ghost town in a manner of fungal speaking.

I have tried to determine the species using my mushroom handbook.

Mycena Plumpies. Not edible.


Tubaria Hiemalis. Not edible either.


Amanita Pantherina Krombh. Not edible and by the way deadly poisonous. Let's NOT use this on our pizza.


No idea, but I'm not eating it.


Looks like acorns but they were mushroom. Can't find it in my book. Even if they were edible, I wouldn't sign up for a chew.


Ok, time out! We went by a small hunting castle in the middle of the forest-- and today of all days, a "pølsemand" was selling "pølser"-- sausages. There are "pølsemænd" all over Denmark, it's the Danish version of the hotdog vendor, and in spite of the overflow of sushi, shawarma and pizza crap, there is still a solid clientele of sausage lovers.


One statue boob in the background for all you male heterosexual readers.

We had the classic "rød pølse med brød" (red ham sausage with white bread, sennep (mustard) and ketchup).


Back again on the hunt-- we still hadn't given up, but the forest and plains were suspiciously shroom-free.

Trametes Versicolor. Not edible.


Cute. Smells weird.


Lyxoperdon Perlatum Pers. Wow! Also known as Crystal Dust Balls, these babies are actually kinda edible according to my book.


Problem is, they look like another very poisonous species when this young. We decide not to pick them as we both want to live long enough to see the two last Happy Potter flicks. Only reason, really.

Gymnopilus Penetrans. Very fleshy, but not edible, duh.


It is around this time that we decide going to Dyrehaven for cookable mushrooms is like going to a gay bar looking for hot men (yes, it's such a cliché that gay men are pretty).

We call it day and head back through the woods toward the little train station.

But I'm not satisfied. This was a day for eating mushrooms, and so a couple of hours later, I walk down to my local Indian joint and order a Fungi Masala with rice.


Behold! A real edible, cookable unposionous (I hope) mushroom.


That's right, you little fucker. You and your family are done draggin us around for fungal treasure, this is your final stop.

Next time I'm in those woods, I'll skip the shroom collecting and be the trendy gay on the horse instead.