Morals &Amp&#59; Morels-This One'S For You Dad! - The Sensibly Organic Cook Blog at - 179571

The Sensibly Organic Cook

Morals & Morels-This one's for you Dad! 
Jun. 9, 2010 8:20 am 
Updated: May 24, 2011 6:42 pm
At first glance one might find the title a bit odd as this originally started as a reminiscence of my father and our mutal love for Morels but there is a reason that maybe only a mushroom hunter will understand.  For those unacquainted with this woodland fungus, they are a Springtime treat to rival any grocery store accessible gourmet mushroom.  They do not grow in all parts of the United States and they can be quite the fickle find.  Dependent on the weather and some say balmy nights & Elm trees, these magnificent mushrooms begin popping up mid April in Missouri.  Once word spreads of a sighting the hunt is on.  Both public and private properties are searched.  Here's the moral part of this story.  If you see a furtive person emerging from any woodsy area while covertly covering a sack, you can make one of two assumptions.  The first one; this is a person who has morals and Morels, they just don't want their beloved mushroom patch to be plundered by anyone observing their full sack.  The second; that they have Morels and no morals.  They are trespassing thieves that are skulking away quickly to avoid possible loss of their purloined produce to the rightful & most likely outraged owner of that patch.

Yes, indeed, a slimy snake has each season been stealing myshrooms from my father's prized patch.  Only this season he not only got them all, he got caught red handed.  This unabashed thief who's ears should still be smoking made off with more than my fungus.  He stole an opportunity.  Only another cook who loves a challenge will truly understand my missed chance.  What would that be?  To have crab stuffed Morels.  Did I think of this idea?  Heavens no!!  Recently at the beginning of mushroom season a local chef gave a recipe to our newspaper's food section for homemade cream of mushroom soup garnished with a crab stuffed Morel.  Naturally, I stopped at one of our big grocery stores and surveyed the crab section.  I looked at it all.  Everything from still in the shell to that odd stuff with the red stripe on it.  Being landlocked I'm not real familiar with fresh seafood but I'm pretty sure the red striped stuff wasn't what I wanted.  I settled for on a 6 oz pouch of "blue swimming crab" at about a $ an oz.  Morels were the only thing I needed.  The chef didn't say how he stuffed the morel or how he made the stuffing.  He just gave the recipe for the soup.  Leeks, creminis, shitakes, chicken stock, heavy cream & dry sherry were the basis for his soup.  I'd bet his soup is good but with the exception of the chicken stock the other stuff I never have and don't buy.  I'm pretty happy with the mushroom soup I make, my real goal was attempting a crab stuffed Morel!  Hey, I figured to post on the  Recipe Exchange and see if anyone could give suggestions for the stuffing.  Surely some coastal reader or a fellow seafood lover would have a few.

So naturally when the weather conditions were favorable and my BIL started finding them, I headed for the South 40.  It's 40 acres of what once was my grandfather's 160 acre farm.  Here's where I learned to hunt mushrooms with my father.  Beautiful old growth woods with ravines, creeks and 2 ponds.  I love these woods and it's here I have one of my fondest memories of my Dad.

Dad had been suffering from Rheumatoid arthritis for some time and it was really affecting his health.  I'm not sure which was worse the arthritis or what the doctors were doing for it.  Anyway, the winter of this story had been hard on him.  Unable to do much anymore was very taxing on a man who loved to fish and garden.  And, yes, hunt mushrooms.  When Spring arrived, Dad pestered his doctor until he got permission to go hunting.  He had two condtions; take someone with him and don't over do it.  So he called me, his youngest daughter who lived on the farm overseeing his cows and had a four wheeler.  "Could you take me mushroom hunting, I can't walk that far?".  "Of course.  When?"  A time was arranged and with my Mother's admonishments still ringing in both our ears, I rode Dad down to the S40 and into the woods where we always began our search.  He wasn't even off the 4-wheeler when he spotted his first little grey one.  Dad was so excited.  To anyone who hasn't hunted mushroom, equate his excitment with a child hunting Easter eggs.  I share this excitment but never seemed to have the luck he did finding mushrooms.  Oh, I'd get some but Dad would always come out of those woods with a sackful.

Again for the non hunter, a small explanation might be in order.  Avid mushroom hunters can be the most honest of people but they will look you right in the eye & LIE about their patch's location.  To further illustrate, a local author who found a walloping 753 Morels this season said he might give up his bank account & social security #'s.  But as far as the locale of his mushroom mother lode it was somewhere North of Mexico and south of Canada.  So when Dad suggested I go look "thatta way" and gestured with his cane in the opposite direction he was headed I knew he was headed for his patch.  That was fine as long as I didn't totally lose track of him.  I wandered off to the old pond and preceded down below it's dam.  Idly looking at rocks and wildflowers, I wasn't paying any attention until I heard cracking sounds followed by cursing.  I turned in the direction of the commotion.  Slowly my gaze drifted up to land on my father who was trying to beat his way out of a multiflora rose bush with his cane.  (For those that don't have these vile vicious rosebushes, once snagged by them only the loss of hide or damage to clothing will release you.)   Frowning, I wondered whatever possessed him to get on the overgrown dam.  My line of sight being roughly at the level of his feet, I noticed something.  Actually a lot of somethings since I had to climb the dam to try and extricate my swearing father.  Scrambling up the bank, I stood in front of him with arms crossed, eyebrows raised and asked,  "Is there something you'd like to share with me?"  Grumbling & still swearing under his breath, Dad said something that sounded like,  "I was gonna tell you".  "Reaaally Daddy?  At about what point did you decide to share this particular location with me?  Before or after you got stuck in that rosebush?"  Ok, so maybe it was wrong of me to let him hang there in the rosebush for a couple of minutes while I gazed pointedly at all those Morels covering the dam but after all those years of hunting with him I felt rather justified.  Hey, he was ruthless in the woods.  Many a branch was accidentally loosed into an unsuspecting face to forestall the follower from beating Dad to his prize.

That day, though, the tables were turned as I helped hin out of the rosebush.  We shared a laugh or two while I poked fun at him for being so secretive.  I even braved the poison ivy (which I'm highly allergic to) to collect mushrooms he couldn't.  Happy he was to go home with a fine mess of mushrooms that day.  So happy he even offered to share half of his find but I said no.  I'm so glad I.  That was Dad's last mushroom hunt.  Complications from the RA took him later that year.  Nope, I'm pretty sure the mushrooms wouldn't have tasted as good as savoring that memory he helped make.  One that still makes me laugh when I stand there in that same spot where Dad had to finally share the location of his secret patch.  Best of all, it's a memory I've shared with my son while teaching him to hunt mushrooms.  Just like the grandfather he never got a chance met taught me.

Thanks for the memory, Dad.

Sorry, the fence cutting trespassing moral-less Morel stealing snake got all the mushrooms this year so there's no happy ending with a crab stuffed morel recipe.  Why didn't I try it with the ones in the picture, you might ask?  Cause I had to pour water on the poor dried out things to hydrate them enough to snap their photo.  Wild Morels are at the mercurial mercy of the perfect combo of warmth and rain.  Alas, their bloom is all too brief and the thief just happened to miss these.  What did I do with the crab?  Made the best tasting crab rangoon I've ever had.  I'm thinking the same named stuff I've gotten out may have been a lot more cream cheese and a lot less crab.  Till next year's season comes.  300,299,298...............
Wish there were more
Photo Detail
Jun. 9, 2010 8:33 am
What a wonderful story, Cat! I could just vision this as I was reading it...RA just plain sucks, I'll tell ya! There are days that I can't get out bed barely only to make it to the bathroom and have to have Bob help me up. RA's a b@stard, but I'm coping the best I can and I'm sorry it took your dad. The treatments for it are not pleasant either that's why I choose not to partake in them until nothing else works. You are quite the storyteller, my friend, and I cannot wait for your next one!
Jun. 9, 2010 8:39 am
What sweet memories!! I love mushrooms but the only kind I ever hunted for were found under cow patties. I'll never do that again. Everything about it was a bad experience (part of MY misspent youth!) I loved reading this, Cat. I laughed and cried and thought about how much I miss my dad.
Jun. 9, 2010 8:45 am
Beautiful story, Cat. Well done! It brings back memories of my dad taking my out into the woods to show me all the different tracks of animals that lived there and the different plants growing. We did this a lot when I was little. We'd also pick out a Christmas tree in our travels and leave some sort of mark on the side of the dirt road near the trail leading to it so we'd be able to locate it at x-mas time. Gosh, I miss him. Thanks!!
Jun. 9, 2010 8:56 am
WW, thank you so much for the sweet comments. I'm waiting for Nepal! If you do have time I do have some questions about RA for you, I'm starting to have concerns for You understand exactly why that day meant so much to Dad. Haven't found out much more for the tomatillos but my greenhouse lady said the heat made your lettuce bitter. ? I didn't think it was that warm yet there. What do I know?
Jun. 9, 2010 8:59 am
1gdcowgirl-thanks. Yep, I'm glad my misspent youth is way behind me!!!! When I look at my 17 yr old and think back to what I was doing at that age. It makes me shudder!!!! Sadly enough the year Dad passed was the year I got pregnant, then moved into our new unfinished house. Talk about fun!
Jun. 9, 2010 9:04 am
Lace thanks for sharing about your dad. I'm glad you enjoyed the story. I love those woods cause of my Dad. After he passed, going back to the woods was hard but when I started taking my son and telling him stories like my dad did. It made the memories even sweeter.
Jun. 9, 2010 9:11 am
That was a very dear story. I love the father tributes especially - I lost my dad at 9 years of age so father/child stories always hit a chord...
Jun. 9, 2010 9:14 am
Oh Cat! - such a great memory you shared and you made it so real in the telling... I feel as if I watched it unfold rather than read simple words on a page. I know that poacher took more than just the morels from you that day. It is still fresh and thinking of it makes the anger rise again but your loving memory of your dad will far outlast the unpleasant visit from the poacher. I KNOW the poacher wont forget the experience of getting caught any time soon!! Thanks for sharing such a nice memory of your dad. ♥
Jun. 9, 2010 10:10 am
What a wonderful memory making day you had! I never did find any morels when I went looking, so know the frustration of not coming home with a prize! Many years ago, a friend shared some with me, and I know the delicious flavor!
Jun. 9, 2010 10:10 am
That was a beautiful story!! I could smell the woods while I was reading! Such awesome memories! So glad to hear you past the shroom picking on!! Love mushrooms but no one in my household of 5 will touch them!! All this talk about mushrooms makes me want some soup!! Take care and can't wait for the next blog.
Jun. 9, 2010 10:25 am
WFDM? No, the snake won't forget! I'd heard he thought he could go in those woods cause he knew my granddad but when he cut the fence to get in. Yes, I was angry. I love those woods and I really wanted to try the crab stuffed Morel! I wouldn't have thought of stuffing a Morel anymore than I would have thought about stuffing an olive! I really wanted to try something new being in Meat & Potato land!
Jun. 9, 2010 10:28 am
sueb, thanks for dropping by. Morels when you find them, you find them. Mushrooms have to top my list of fave foods. The Morels are the best IMO but then that's all I hunt.
Jun. 9, 2010 10:37 am
dragonfly22, glad you liked it. My husband hates anything his mother didn't serve. No imagination! LOL. I love mushrooms. One of mine and my son's fave meals is the wild Morels and fresh asparagus in the spring. I did have so much fun teaching him to hunt them like my Dad taught me. Next blog is a joint effort and has been SO much fun trying to put it together. It should be a treat to read since my co-blogger is fantastic by herself.
Jun. 9, 2010 10:46 am
Maggi, I'm so sorry you lost your father so early. I'm glad you liked the story thanks for stopping by!
Jun. 9, 2010 12:09 pm
Hi Cat! My folks lived in Morel country and although their lot was only three acres, many a mushroomer trampled over their spot- and it wasn't a good location for Morels! Glad you caught the snake. Yes, those Morels are addictive. I never thought of crab stuffed but you have made me believe that's a perfect match! Around here, in the cool of fall, we get some mushrooms calle Shaggy Manes that are incredible. They,too, are fickle and are very similar in appearance to a deadly variety so they are hunted only by very knowlegable and confident hunters.
Jun. 9, 2010 12:29 pm'll never remember to send you an email but I'll remember if I see one from you in the in-box...LOL!
Jun. 9, 2010 12:53 pm
Mike Harvey, glad to hear from you. We have the deadly look alikes too! I love seafood all except for calamari(sp?). Thought a stuffed morel could be most excellent!!!! Was quite the cranky woman when I found the thief. I'm sure the bordering neighbors heard! Dang it I really wanted to make that recipe! Going to check out your blog :)
Jun. 9, 2010 12:55 pm
Jun. 9, 2010 1:25 pm
I have to thank you again, I read this out loud to Bob and that got us on a great conversation about our childhoods. He grew up in Missouri for a you know where that is?
Jun. 9, 2010 4:12 pm
Morels do not grow around here :( They cost about $60/lb if you can find them. I love all mushrooms. I'm glad the theif didn't ruin you Dad's last hunt. Beautiful blog.
Jun. 9, 2010 5:55 pm
What a beautiful story, Cat! Than is, all except for the Morel stealing snake!! Your story made me remember how my dad and I used to go blackberry picking together. Not as exciting as morels but still made for good memories!! I sure do miss my dad. Can't wait to read your next blog!!! Ginny
Jun. 9, 2010 8:18 pm
Yes, WW I do. I'm not a world travler so I know MO pretty well! Look at a MO map, look left. See Neosho? That's where DH's relatives were from. We used to visit regularly. Now look straight up from Neosho till you hit Hwy 36. Way up. Found it? I'm waving! :)
Jun. 9, 2010 8:19 pm
Sorry that should be look left from Monett! Long day!
Jun. 9, 2010 8:24 pm
BSM, Ok you know why I was a raging cat this year then. Who has $60 to spend on fungus? I think that neighbor knew better when Dad was alive plus, I was living on the farm then. When I left my niece and her husband Mickey moved onto it and they don't like mushrooms. Thanks for stopping by.
Jun. 9, 2010 8:30 pm
GrannyGigi, I've been wondering where you were! I haven't seen you since WFDM? and I were having a running dialogue on one of her blogs. Glad to see you! I've got grapevines and blackberries from that farm growing at this house. Blackberry pie is one of my favorites, the chiggars you can get from the brambles not so much!
Jun. 9, 2010 8:51 pm
Great story and tribute to your dad! About the only mushroom hunting I ever did was the cow-pat sort, a long time ago. Oh, and I guess back then, I did always have my eye out for a fun-guy! I may have had morels once, but I'm pretty certain I had morals once, too! It's great that you can share this tradition with your kid!
Jun. 9, 2010 9:34 pm
LOLLOL. Uh huh another misspent youther! Thanks dear! Grapes need to be coming soon!!!!!! :)
Jun. 10, 2010 6:23 am
Awesome, Cat! Wish I was brave enough to eat wild mushrooms! Only if someone else found them! Great blog!
Jun. 10, 2010 9:32 am
Well, if you know what you are looking for there are all kinds that are edible. I stick with the Morels cause I know what they are. I've been hunting them since I was 5. And Dad was right it is easier to have someone lower to the ground see them. :) Glad you liked the story!
Jun. 12, 2010 4:07 pm
try cotton wood groves . . .that's all im sayin
Jun. 12, 2010 8:56 pm
Oh, I forgot! We have a few puffballs that grow out back behind the cafe every year. Who knew!? They are delish! Very meaty in texture. The Czech boys know their 'shrooms! Once, I took Vojta on a catering job and when we got to the venue he got super excited over these slimy things. He cooked them up and they were yummy -- a bit like scrambled eggs.
Jun. 13, 2010 6:23 am
Thank you for bringing my own memories back into focus. Growing up in Michigan, we often spent our vacation out in the deep woods, searching for the elusive morels. At the time, I would rather have been at home with a good book, but now I realize what wonders I could have seen, if I would have opened up my eyes and just looked. Still the memory of morels, covered in flour, salt and pepper, sizzling in a frying pan of browned butter make my mouth water even though it's been over 30 years since I've tasted them.
Jun. 13, 2010 6:24 am
This was my first time are an excellent writer! It was a pleasure to read. Thanks!
Jun. 13, 2010 9:25 am
Excellent blog, Cat. I understand how you feel about your dad's treasure being stolen. My dad died in '08 and not long after, some thief stole the motor off of his fishing boat. It's a terrible feeling. I did love the story of your last hunt together, though. My dad loved to hunt morels and my other half still does. Here in Iowa we are able to find a lot- I'm usually sick of 'em by the time the season ends. Thanks for sharing your story- it really is touching. :)
Jun. 13, 2010 9:31 am
Thanks for the story. Morel morals are exactly the same where I grew up in IA. Even saints will lie, cheat and trespsss to find them. I went home twice to hunt them this spring. I had 3 tasty meals of them, in excess! After driving 3-1/2 hours to go home to my family farm IA, I came home to find some in my farm's windbreak here in MN, too! Lived here 19 years, and all the time they've been in my back yard. Thanks for the crab stuffing idea.
Jun. 13, 2010 10:02 am
GENZ-My DH is hoping I get over my fear of flying so we can come to visit you!! I'd love to try puffballs!!!!! Or anything I see in your beautiful blogs! DH thought your coffee was over the top!
Jun. 13, 2010 10:03 am
Rebalwings, thanks for the tip. I find Morels show up where they want no matter what! :)
Jun. 13, 2010 10:05 am
Union_98, you're welcome! I think a good memory is made to be savored! 30 yrs? & I'm whining about waiting til next Spring! :)
Jun. 13, 2010 10:07 am
Christen, thank you so much for stopping in. There are a lot of excellent writers here on AR. They've inspired me!
Jun. 13, 2010 10:09 am
Citrus Punch-Iowa, you say? Hmm, I could drive up and take the excess off your hands next year!:)LOL Thank you for your kind words!
Jun. 13, 2010 10:12 am
Ranger Rick-Last year I hunted the S40 only to come home and find them in the backyard. Was looking for a gardening shoe a different kind of thief stole and while looking where I never had before there they were!!!!
Jun. 13, 2010 2:56 pm
Don't know how I missed this! Wonderful story- the only person I've ever ate Morels with is my dad :) I'd love to try hunting for them! I know many in Iowa have great success!
Jun. 13, 2010 4:44 pm
Hey Kathleen! You are only 5 hours away or so. The hunt's on next year!! I want a crab stuffed Morel! Hey maybe WW & crew could meet up for that one! Thanks for stopping in. Loved the bread blog!
Jun. 14, 2010 1:05 pm
My husband is a big shroom hunter! He's been really upset because the weather is really good for shroom hunting on days that he works but every day off that he's had has rained. We found a couple morels a few weeks ago but haven't had any luck since what with all the rain. We go up in the Blue Mountains in Oregon for our hunting.
Jun. 14, 2010 1:16 pm
I want to thank you - I have the biggest smile planted on my face right now!!! I can picture your Dad all tangled up in the rose bush and being TOTALLY CHOKED that he had to give up his secret patch!!!
Jun. 14, 2010 4:05 pm
Marika's Mom, then the hub can understand how, ummm, irrate I was when I discovered the thief with his 4wheeeler in MY patch. My hub just sat down on the thief's quad & let me handle the situation. He didn't feel he had anything to add to the conversation as I was pretty well covering it! Thanks for stopping by! Tell the hub good luck hunting!!
Jun. 14, 2010 4:07 pm
weeflower, I still share in that smile. I wish I had a camera that day. Arm outstretched, cane in hand and face all red. It was a moment. One of my best memories of Dad. Thanks for coming by!!!
Jun. 15, 2010 4:53 am
I am envious now! Morel hunting sounds like a lot of fun and all this talk of crab stuffed morels has my tongue hanging out! :)
Jun. 15, 2010 6:51 am
WFDM?, I'm not sure if you have morels in your area. My Maine friends say they don't but they have other types that I know nothing about!
Jun. 15, 2010 8:04 am
I never even heard about them until joining AR! Now I feel deprived! :) Gonna have to look in to this morel hunting..... sounds like fun - unless you end up in brambles like some people LOL.
Jun. 15, 2010 10:44 am
I'll check this website and see if you even have them. I'm on a quest right now so no time :(
Jun. 15, 2010 9:04 pm
I loved reading your story. I was born and raised in eastern Oregon and I have fond childhood memories of hunting for morels with my parents. I hadn't done it for years but my family I have recently moved to a new town I was recently surprised from my husband and 13 yr old with a large bucket full of morels. They only had to drive a few miles south of town to find them. My husband even soaked and vacuum packed them to eat thru out the year. I've been estranged from my dad for some time now maybe this is a sign that time will heal some of the wounds. Thanks again....I love cooking and reading recipes but this website brings it even closer to my heart.
Amy C 
Jun. 16, 2010 8:41 am
Great story, and everything you stated about Morels and who hunts for them is completely true. Thanks
Jun. 16, 2010 12:06 pm
jeanine, ah that was sweet. My Dad & I weren't always on the best of terms so when I could do this one last thing for him and we both enjoyed the day, it did make for an excellent memory. May you have some with your dad!
Jun. 16, 2010 12:08 pm
Amy C, ain't it the truth!!! Thanks for stopping by and I'm glad you enjoyed the story. Hopefully, the poacher learned his lesson from this year!!!!! I want that crab stuffed Morel! Doggone it!!!!!
Jun. 16, 2010 12:12 pm
WFDM?, I looked, the East coast does have Morels! Just not in the city, do you have woods near? there are some great websites out there to tell you when to look and where for your area. Google! I love Google!
Jun. 16, 2010 7:11 pm
Isn't it great that a mushroom can be responsible for so many peoples cherished memories! I love it! I too am from Oregon and have great memories hunting with my whole family.. grandma, grandpa, mom, dad, cousins, aunt & uncle. Great times! Since I moved to NY 13 years ago, I have only been able to hunt with them a few times and boy do I miss it! I always inquire in the spring and it starts a long conversation full of anticipation and excitement. It was great fun wether you came home empty handed or loaded down! I have tried to find info on Morels here, but never got anywhere., I'll look into the Google map... that would be great to do with my husband and my son once he is big enough! Thanks for sharing!
Jun. 17, 2010 11:41 am
ck, I forgot what website I hit but Shanon had asked too about Morels being in her area. I found a great site that had a map and showed where the Morels were being found and when. It had lots of other great info too. I didn't pay attention where I was cause knew and know where my mushrooms are to be found. :)
Mar. 9, 2011 3:57 pm
I still love this blog! :)
May 24, 2011 6:42 pm
LOLOLOL! Thank you my dear. I've been thinking of you and hoping you are still coming to the roundup and you haven't washed or blown away!
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Cat Hill

Home Town
Kansas City, Missouri, USA

Member Since
Aug. 2009

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About Me
I live in the middle of the U.S. in a farming communtiy. Gardening, reading and cooking are the things you'll mostly find me doing. I also enjoy horseback riding & my many pets. A husband & teen, I have 1 of each.
My favorite things to cook
Bread & BBQ are 2 of my favorite things to cook. I do enjoy a food challenge. Last year it was curing my own brisket for Corned beef & pastrami & porkloin for Canadian bacon. This year sausages & scratch cakes.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Bread and brittle. I learned to bake bread with my Mom. It was her favorite thing to make. My Aunt made the best peanut brittle ever. She'd stopped making it in the later years but when I told her how much I enjoyed her brittle, she opened the vault ,gave me the recipe & handed over the brittle torch to me.
My cooking triumphs
Anything that turns out the way I wanted it to or exceeds my expectations! Like my homemade bratwurst.
My cooking tragedies
Let's not go there! I prefer not to think about my kitchen disasters besides my child can gleefully recount all of them.
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