Mushroom hunters "...regarded as a sort of idiot among the lower orders."

Porcini Northwest Food News has a great story on NPR about mushroom hunters. I love the quote that Guy uses to open the piece:

Many cultures, including our own, once considered hunting mushrooms aberrant behavior. They are, after all, a sometimes filthy and occasionally deadly fungus. William Delisle Hay, a 19th Century British mycologist, wrote that a mushroom hunter was often “regarded as a sort of idiot among the lower orders. No fad or hobby is esteemed so contemptible as that of the ‘fungus-hunter’ or ‘toadstool-eater.’”

It is a strange hobby that attracts an off-center band of acolytes, and mushrooms are the eccentric uncles of the food chain (dried porcini does smell like toe jam after all), but count me in as a lowly "toadstool eater" and "fungus hunter." 

Picture: A 3 pound porcini I discovered on a recent outing near Mt. Spokane.