I was gifted an ample pile of foraged chanterelle mushrooms from a long time friend, Mai. What a wonderful culinary opportunity.
However, knowing the hazards of randomly picked fungi, I did some research before cooking them up. One good source is from the Mycological Society of San Francisco.
I learned of the look alike and toxic jack-o-lantern mushroom that is bio-luminescent. I read that chanterelles have false gills that fork and white flesh instead of the orange flesh and true gills of the jack-o-lantern. I read a story about an ER worker who had a patient they named "Jack" because he came in poisoned from eating the toxic version two years in a row because the poisonous jack-o-lantern has a lovely fruity smell like the chanterelle. I even found comfort in learning that toxic one is not deadly; it just makes you wish you were dead for a couple of days.
I appreciate the gift of a bag of mushrooms. The sharing of a precious, seasonal bounty, the piqued curiosity about wild mushrooms and the new reason to connect with my immediate nature are the best part of this present. Thanks, Mai.