Tiberio's Urban Mushroom Hunt

Trying to outpace the parking police, Tiberio went to check on his car. On the way back, he plucked several mushrooms that were growing in a green space. Tiberio returned to the restaurant, triumphantly displaying his prize.

We, on the other hand, were dubious about mushrooms harvested under the shadow of skyscrapers.

But Tiberio is from Southern Italy and they do things differently there.

I followed him into the kitchen for his grand experiment in urban foraging. A quick slice of the stem, and we waited. Tiberio explained that he was looking for the flesh around the cut to turn blue.


In his thick accent he said with an air of authority, "When they turn blue, it means they're okay to eat."

He sliced off the stem and like the anticipation of a Polaroid picture, we hovered over the cut, waiting for the tell tale sign to reveal itself. The slightest shade of grey blue appeared and he said, matter-of-factly, "See? We eat now."

Tiberio fired up the stove, and sauteed fat mushroom slices with a simple mix of butter, garlic and onions. Minutes later, he emerged from the kitchen with a plate full of gorgeous croistini, topped with fresh herbs and a dusting of pine nuts.

Since I was recently laid off, I reminded everyone I only had insurance until midnight on the 31st. If I turned ill, they were directed to take me to the hospital immediately!

In the end, there was no need for emergency medical treatment. The mushrooms were delicious.

Urban mushroom hunting with Tiberio?

It's a good thing!

Follow up: I tracked Tiberio down at his catering company, and got more information about those mushrooms. Here's what he had to say, "The Mushrooms were Slippery Jack, which they are good if you only know how to cook, because can cause stomach upsetting."