Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, January 26, 2019

MVNews this week:  Page A:7



Mountain Views-News Saturday, January 26, 2019 


[Nyerges is the author of “How 
to Survive Anywhere,” “Self-
Sufficient Home,” “Foraging 
California,” and other books. 
For more information about his 
books and classes, go to www.] 


A Great Annual Opportunity to Learn about Mushrooms

The 35th Annual Los Angeles Mycological 
Society’s Wild Mushroom Fair will take place on 
Sunday, February 10, beginning at 9 a.m., at the 
L.A.County Arboretum, located at 301 N. Baldwin in 
Arcadia. There will be a walk, mushroom growing 
demonstration, cooking demonstration, and other 
lectures. All day long there will be educational displays 
of wild mushrooms, and experts on hand to query 
with your identification questions.

 Admission to the Mushroom Fair is free with 
admission to the Arboretum, which is $9 for adults, $6 
for seniors (62 and over), $6 for students with ID, and 
$4 for children 5-12. Children under 5 are admitted 
free. Parking is free. More information about LAMS 
events is available on their Calendar at http://www.

 Recently, I conducted a walk to exclusively identify 
mushrooms. In the early 1970s, I got involved with 
the L.A. Mycological Association, and learned 
how to identify wild 
mushrooms, and use 
the edible ones for 
food. I had some 
great mentors, such as 
Robert Tally, and Bill 
Breen, who taught me 
how to find and cook 
wild mushrooms.

 During the 70s, I 
would eat mushrooms 
that others in the 
association found or 
brought to meeting 
that they declared 
were edible. I would 
study them, take note 
and photos, and try them when I got home. I recall 
a phrase, “this mushroom is know to disagree with 
some people.” That translates as, “you will be vomiting 
violently at 2 a.m.” which happened a little too often. 
So I lost my desire to try every wild mushroom. Plus, 
beyond the common mushrooms, most of them began 
to get categorized as the “LBMs,” the “little brown 
mushrooms, which were never identified to genus 
because it would have taken more time than I cared to 
give to the task.

 My recent walk was organized by a member of 
the current Los Angeles Mushroom Society The 
main problem with scheduling mushroom walks 
is that scheduling generally takes place weeks, if not 
months, ahead of the event, and mushrooms are 
very particular about when they pop up. Conditions 
all need to be just so for the mushrooms to arise, 
such as the season, under the correct trees, amount of 
moisture, temperature, and other variations. However, 
by this January we had adequate rain so I felt we’d see 
plenty of mushrooms.

 As it turned out, we had a very successful walk. We 
walked under oaks mostly, where layers of wood chips 
had been laid down, and in other areas too. 

 We found specimens of at least three very common 
mushrooms. The first was the Lepiota rhacodes 
(sometimes called the parasol mushroom). This one 
appears as a white gilled mushroom, with brown 
patches on the cap, a ring on the stem, a bulbous 
base, and a hollow stem. It stains orange when cut or 
bruised. It’s an excellent mild-tasting mushroom when 
sautéed in butter. We also found many specimens of 
the Agaricus campestris and related species, which 
is basically the wild variety of the common store-
bought mushroom. This one has pink gills which turn 
a chocolate color as the spores mature, a ring on the 
stout stem, and a stem that breaks freely from the cap.

 The third common one we found was the blewitt, so 
called because the entire mushroom is an unmistakable 
violet color. The Latin name for this one has changed 
periodically. I first learned it as Tricholoma nuda, 
then it was Lepista nuda, now the mycologists appear 
to have settled on Clitocybe nuda. It has a stout stem 
with free gills. We all found enough of these three that 
many of the participants got to take some home to 

 We found a 
few of the inky caps, 
including Coprinus 
atramentarius, which 
causes vomiting 
if consumed with 
alcohol. The inky caps 
must be collected and 
cooked when they 
are young and white, 
because as they get old, 
they decompose into a 
blank ink.

 We found 
others too, and also 
identified several 
wild greens along the 
way. Everyone had a good introductory experience 
to mushroom hunting, but realized that a lot of time 
should be spent in learning how to identify before you 
ever eat any wild mushrooms on your own. I spent 
at least two years in the field before feeling confident 
enough to consume wild mushrooms by myself. It 
may not take everyone that long – after all, once you 
learn one wild mushroom, you can always pick that 
one and use it. But you should never eat any wild 
mushroom that you have not positively identified. 

 To learn more, you could research on-line, get a 
good mycology book at a local bookstore, and you are 
also welcome to email images to me. If I can identify 
them, I will do so. And be sure to attend the Annual 
Mushroom Fair at the Arboretum on February 10 if 
you are able.


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder


When it comes to practical 
jokes, Yours Truly is always 
on the ready. Throughout my earthly passage, I have 
perpetuated my share of practical jokes. I will not 
enumerate them here, the simple reason being, I 
might want to bring one out of retirement.

 I must say that most practical jokes are neither 
practical nor funny. However, I operate on the 
biblical premise, “A merry heart doeth good like 
a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones” 
(Proverbs 17:22). With the high cost of medicine 
these days, I will take a merry heart every time. Just 
call me Dr. Merry Heart, and I will dispense some 
good medicine to everybody who needs it.

 Now, the practical joke I am thinking of has to do 
with New Year’s Resolutions. I always look forward 
to the last week in January for this very reason. For 
the first several weeks of January, I am nervous and 
sweating over those lousy New Year’s Resolutions I 
am forced to make. Pardon my French.

 Somewhere there is someone laughing at all of 
those stupid enough to make New Year’s Resolutions. 
It is probably the quintessential practical joke played 
on all humanity. Is there a culture anywhere in our 
world today that does not fall for this practical joke? 
If there is, I want to move there.

 The first week in January is probably the worst 
week when it comes to these New Year’s Resolutions. 
They are fresh in our mind not to mention fresh on 
our lips. A New Year’s Resolution would not be so 
bad if nobody knew that we made one. The problem 
comes when somebody knows what our resolution is 
and constantly reminds us, “How’s your New Year’s 
Resolutions coming along?”

 For most of us, it is a formula for lying. Of course, 
I blame my friends who are tempting me into this 
pattern of lying. If they would forget my resolutions 
as easily as I do, there would be peace on earth good 
will to men.

 Nevertheless, during the first week, I entertain 
high intentions about my resolutions. And like the 
thought-challenged beggar that I am, I boast to 
everybody about the high quality resolutions I have 
put in force for the coming year. All this in an effort 
to improve my standing among my peers. Most of 
my peers are standing in high water themselves. 
My objective is to make them think that I am a 
progressive, forward thinking, highbrow person of 
the future. I cannot control what they think, but I 
can help them along the thinking process concerning 

 The second week of January is a high water mark 
for these New Year’s Resolutions. It is during this 
week that I begin to have suspicions about the 
legitimacy of my resolutions. The first week they 
look wonderful, but the second week the rose begins 
fading and I begin to see what I have strapped 
myself with for the coming year. Then, just when my 
confidence is beginning to shake, a friend of mine 
will ask, “How’s your New Year’s Resolutions coming 

 On Facebook, they have a process called 
“defriending.” I must find out how that works. I have 
a list of friends I would like to “defriend,” at least 
until my New Year’s Resolutions have faded into the 
distant past of forgetfulness. The next person that 
asks me about my New Year’s Resolutions will be 
added to that infamous list.

 Then the third week of January comes around. 
It is at this time I begin to see that my New Year’s 
Resolutions were made by a fool. There is no fool 
quite like the one in your bathroom mirror. By now, 
I find there is absolutely no way those resolutions 
will be kept by me. If only I could sell my resolutions 
on eBay, I might make out pretty good, because on 
paper they look terrific.

 At this stage of the month, the Gracious Mistress 
of the Parsonage says to me, “How’s your New Year’s 
Resolutions coming along?” She always says it with a 
silly little smirk on her face. She knows that the boast 
of January 1 loses its luster by January 21. After all, 
she has 46 years, this coming summer, of experience 
with my New Year’s Resolutions.

 It is the fourth week of January I am most interested 
in. To go through the first three weeks of January is 
rather painful but by the time the last week comes 
around everything is forgotten.

 Not only have I forgotten my resolutions, but 
everybody around me has forgotten them as well. 
At least they have given up asking me about those 
resolutions. I take what I get and am thankful. Some 
may have heard about my defriending policy.

 The thing most troubling is, I never learn my 
lesson. Next year it will be the very same thing, and 
consequently, the same outcome.

 There is something to forgetting the past. I find it 
interesting that the things we need to forget are the 
very things we remember, and the things we should 
remember are the ones we usually forget.

 The apostle Paul understood this very thing. 
“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: 
but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which 
are behind, and reaching forth unto those things 
which are before,” (Philippians 3:13).

 The best resolution has to do with my relationship 
with God. And that is no practical joke.

 Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God 
Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He 
lives with his wife in Silver Springs Shores. Call him 
at 352-687-4240 or e-mail 
The church web site is

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