Categories
Dyeing

Eat, yarn, and be merry

This is definitely pre-internet.

The only reason I keep my Five Roses Cookbook is for this pie recipe and Date Squares.

Pumpkin Pie evolved to  Squash Pie. I enjoy the mountains of pumpkins at the farm market for their colour, and head for the squash bins.  Less watery. Nuttier,  and tastier.

I use butternut squash.  It’s dense, sweet and meaty.  Cook the seeded and sectioned   squash until tender in  just enough water to steam it.  When cool, remove skins and purree until really really smooth, and proceed with recipe.

Now, for the Phaeolus Sweinitzii which I talked about in  What’s in the Pot? post.

This polypore fungus is no different from any fungus in that it grows on organic matter, breaking it down as its mycelium threads its way through the substrate.  It’s classified as a pathogen – specifically “butt rot”, because it kills its host – the conifers it associates with.  It looks something like a bracket fungi, which you would see clinging like a shelf to the bark of a tree, but this particular fungus is usually found at the base of the tree, looking more like a failed mud pie – or a cow pie, if your imagination runs from the barnyard.  You can tell it’s a polypore by the underside, which has numerous (poly) woody pores rather than gills commonly associated with mushrooms. The top side is gold and brown, plush and velvety.  They quite often engulf the plant growth around them.  I found this specimen with blackberry vines and twigs  encompassed in the flesh of the fungus.  It was about five feet from the base of a douglas fir. They are not edible, and quite honestly, are so woody and unpalatable looking that you wouldn’t want to experiment.

It is also called Dyers Polypore.  This is the yarn part of the story.  A fresh one, when cut open has a dense deep gold brown flesh which quickly turns dark in the air.  An old specimen is harder to find and will be almost  indiscernible  from the crusty dark brown black old bark of a dead tree.  When you simmer up the chopped mushroom,  the dyebath becomes rich gold. This fungus is famous for giving and giving colour after continued simmering.  I’ve only used so far, alum and iron pre-mordanted fiber in the dyepot, and the range of colour is gorgeous, from soft golds to intense yellows to olive green when pre-mordanted with iron.  Copper mordant turns the golds to amber brown.  What a glorious range of colour.  And they look so beautiful together!