Chapter 42: Mushroom Hunting
Volume 1 — The Temporary Snow Country Life of the Northern Nobleman and the Raptor Wife
In summer, a period called the white nights when the sun does not set visits. It’s the opposite of the polars in which the sun does not rise.
When those days come, we go out for mushrooms. The baskets that were filled with berries are then filled with mushrooms.
The forest too was covered in the lush green shades of summer. The vivid green colour calmed one’s heart.
While walking, we quickly came across a mushroom.
“Ah, Sieg, this is a poisonous mushroom.”
“So you can tell from just looking.”
A flamboyant red cap with yellow dots. It’s a poisonous mushroom indeed, but it’s not that dangerous. It’s just bad enough to have to lie on the bed for about three or four days. In addition, there are no antidotes for this so we have to be cautious. It’s supposed to be very delicious, so there are places where the mushroom is eaten after getting rid of the poison.
“This one’s poisonous too.”
The next one was also a poisonous mushroom. It has a round brown cap, that doesn’t look too different from the mushrooms sold in shops. However, this one has a lethal poison. So it should never be eaten!
It’s characteristic is that it has brown gills under the cap.
The thick, wide-rimmed mushroom is also poisonous, and the white one that looks similar to the common mushroom is also poisonous. For the one looks similar to a brain, the poison can be removed by boiling it, but breathing in the steam poisons a person and eating it raw can kill. So I never actively tried to eat it. Plus it looked weird.
We came across even more poisonous mushrooms after that. It became a tour for poisonous mushrooms.
“Ah, this one’s fine!”
The one we finally found was one that had a round cap and looked as if it was hunching. It smells nice, and is good for making boiled dishes. It’s a strange mushroom that tastes different if it’s dried. There were a lot, so the two of us crouched down and gathered them.
“There’s a lot of mushrooms. I didn’t think that the ground would be this full of mushrooms.”
“Right…… there are about hundred different kinds of edible mushrooms, and about fifty different kinds of poisonous mushrooms.”
“Feels somewhat scary.”
“It’s fine as long as you remember which ones are fit for eating.”
Those who get adventurous are the ones who poison themselves.
There were many incidents of people getting poisoned, but by putting up drawings of the poisonous mushrooms on the bulletin board the number of those incidents were greatly reduced. Mushroom poison is dangerous, so we have to be careful.
After our morning stroll in the forest, the baskets were filled with mushrooms.
Ruruporon was taking the day off so I cooked alone today.
Of course, we were having the fresh mushrooms.
Since it’s hard to cook at the fireplace in summer, I cooked outside at the kitchen behind the house.
Because I was crouching down, I was more tired than I thought I was. So I discussed with Sieg to eat a simple dish.
“This mushroom with the smaller caps are tastier.”
The basket only had mushrooms of the tastiest sizes. Feeling satisfied, I took in the scent.
I heard that removing the dust off the mushroom with a brush and wiping it with a wet cloth makes the scent last longer, but that method does not remove all the dust, so I just washed them in water.
Next to me, Sieg was spreading butter over rye bread. Then, she put a flat pan over the stove and put some butter on the pan as well.
“It will taste better.”
After saying that, Sieg had something else to do so she went inside.
Since I was left alone now, I decided to focus on cooking.
I cut off the hard stalk bits and sliced them thinly.
I put them in the pan Sieg prepared, and also put in some smoked boar meat that were cut into squares. I also put in some spices. It’s done once the mushrooms are cooked.
Those are then placed the buttered rye bread, and finally some powdered cheese is sprinkled on top. A simple dish.
When I went back inside with the finished dish, Sieg was waiting while heating up some leftover soup from breakfast and brewing coffee.
“Would you have preferred a cold berry juice?”
“No, no way.”
I sat down and prayed to the Spirit for these blessing of nature, then started eating.
The bread was still soft and the mushrooms and smoked meat fried in butter went well together. Flavours flowed out of the mushroom, and the smoked meat had a nice savoury taste that spread in my mouth. The butter and cheese accented the aromatic flavour of the bread. Overall, it might have been a bit strong, but it was still great.
“It’s a flavour that makes me want to drink.”
I thought of the beer that I had back then. On such a sweaty day, cool beer would be nice. I thought of beer that I did not have right now.
I calmed down with coffee, and decided to work hard in the afternoon as well.
I’m working separately with Sieg in the afternoon. It seemed that she was going to work at embroidery with a lady in the neighbourhood.
I accompanied her halfway and parted ways in front of the shop.
“Oh, my lord.”
“I brought the baby bears.”
I turned in some baby bears I made during free time.
In this season, there are no tourists, but there sometimes are travellers visiting so we have to be prepared.
I looked at the silver ornament on the shelf.
“This? An ornament merchant came over before and asked me to sell this here.”
Could it be the merchant that sold Sieg’s earring? To consign goods to the shop while peddling in the village, he’s got quite the business acumen.
The flower shaped necklace caught my gaze. I thought it would look very good on Sieg.
I didn’t have money for that. The earrings were plenty expensive.
It’s free to just look, so I looked to my heart’s content. Then, a guest came in.
“Welcome. Oh my, long time no see.”
The visitor wasn’t a guest but an owner of a general store that sold traditional crafts from this village in the city.
It seemed that he came over every two or three months.
That person really liked that wooden baby bears I had, and so he bought them at a very high price. From a sudden income, I felt great.
“So, are you buying it?”
Money is important. However good it would look on Sieg, I should not buy spontaneously like last time.
Also, we’re in the period where the village’s funds get low, so I can’t spend money on unnecessary things.
I was playing her for a fool, so I bought few bottles of beer.
After returning home, I set about drying the mushrooms. Dried mushrooms are an important touch for soups in winter. I heard that naturally dried mushrooms have their taste condensed, and have more nutrients. I have no choice but to dry them then.
However, raw mushrooms are good to. The crunchy texture was unbearable. That was the fun of this season.
While I was doing that work, Sieg came back.
“Sieg, what about dinner?”
“Do you have some mushrooms left from lunch? That and some alcohol.”
“I bought some beer.”
Dinner consisted of leftovers from lunch along with pickled fish, processed meat and rye bread. It was simple yet there was quite a bit.
After dinner, we took baths and played in the living room.
“It’s strange that it’s bright even though it’s night.”
“Sometimes, one can end up staying up all night.”
The sun does not set during white nights.
Thanks to that, I played games with Sieg until dawn.
The fatigue we had recently were all due to us playing late at night.