Finding morels is like walking through a maze blindfolded, but it
can be almost as much fun as eating them. Gnomes of the forest,
morels are masters at hiding, but experienced foragers have their
own wiles – wait until oak leaves are the size of a squirrel’s ear,
look for Mayapple stands where the leaves have spread out, stoop
low to look where the ground is marshy along creek beds strewn
with dying trees. Edible fungi, cone-shaped head resembling sea
sponge, the morel has a distinct nutty smell, no doubt drawn from
its lowly habitat, among rotting plant layers of the forest floor.
Not here long, they appear like magic, as if to test the earth’s
progress into spring. West Virginians call them Molly Moochers.
Connoisseurs call them delicious, cooked with chicken or fish,
well worth the hike to find them. A morel mushroom by any other
name is also good when sliced in half and fried in cornmeal like
they do in Kentucky where they call them Hickory Chicken.
Think about hunting them in late March, but it may be
late April before you see them. Morels are not easy, but those
spongy heads poking through the ground are so worth the trouble.
All the Molly Moocher lovers have to do is go find them.
Poem by Patricia Hope
Patricia Hope has won awards in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction and her work has appeared in numerous publications including the online literary journals: The Tennessee Magazine, The Avocet, Liquid Imagination, American Diversity Report, Maypop, as well as many articles in Southern Writers. https://thetwohopes.wixsite.com/author-pat-hope