Probably every child in
It’s surprising considering the answer was one of our most oft used jokes. The joke was, “Guess what?” The other person would invariable reply “what?” Then the jokester would say “
The wittiness of this rhyme still tickles me. Eventually “turkey butt” became a comeback of sorts. Sincere attempts to illicit interest were batted away with turkey butts. “No, really, guess what!” the eager sibling insisted only to be slapped with another “turkey butt.”
Yet, in all these years, I never really gave turkey butts any consideration.
Well that’s changed. Thanks to the fantastic fungus Trametes versicolor, known in some circles as “turkey tail,” I now meditate a good deal on turkey butts. And just in time for the ritualistic stuffing of turkey butts nationwide.
There is nothing more ubiquitous to the American holiday season than turkey. And, as it turns out, there is nothing more ubiquitous among woodland polypores than the turkey tail. Once I heard there was a mushroom called “turkey tail,” it went straight to the top of my Fungal Interest List.
Unlike turkey at the holidays, the ubiquitousness of turkey tail is a nearly global phenomenon.
I’m serious. Look underneath the fungus to determine verity of the variety. Look at its butt. If you can see pores no one can accuse you of donning an imposter (you may need a magnifying lens to see them though).
And if you are preparing this week’s feast, and if stuffing turkey butts makes you squeamish, think of fungal butts instead. Let your mind wander to the forest and be thankful you aren’t eating turkey tail. It takes 62 hours of boiling to render a broth from the buggers… and you thought roasting a turkey took forever (Arora, 594).
Or you could think about other things you’re thankful for.
I’m feeling particularly thankful for my siblings this Thanksgiving.
Hey, Guess what…
[For this post I consulted Mushrooms Demystified by David Arora, published by Ten Speed Press, 1979, 1986; Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World by Paul Stamets, also published by Ten Speed Press, 2005; Magical Mushrooms Mischievous Molds by George W. Hudler, Princeton University Press, 1998; A Field Guide to Mushrooms of North America, Kent McKnight, Hougton Mifflin, 1987.]