So says Gerard of mushrooms in his Herbal of 1633, quoted in Alan Davidson's Oxford Companion to Food. In my teenage years, I read and re-read Cambridge public library's copy of John Cage's Silence: Lectures and Writings. Cage mentions mushrooms from time to time. He was a keen mycologist, an interest he thought appropriate as music and mushroom are alphabetical neighbours in dictionaries. And, I thought to myself, mycology is not far away, and fugue is near fungus, and toccata near toadstool.
I wish I knew more about mushrooms. I have always been cautious. Even my mother, well versed in natural history, could be deceived and with her we once picked pounds of what we thought were field mushrooms on Newmarket Heath, only to find when we got them home, thanks to a telephone call from companions in our foray, that they were a species that, while not poisonous, can be indigestible, causing stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea. I have only felt confident in eating unusual species when in the company of Polish friends, taught from birth to recognise and prepare the edible varieties.
Now I find this in the garden. It is rather splendid. I wonder if it is edible? If it is not, I may turn to Lucrezia Borgia's Fun with Fungi and invite my enemies to supper.