Category Archives for Mushrooms

This music playlist is scientifically curated for your magic mushroom trip-up


Next time you’re tripping on’ shrooms, let this music be your guide.

A psychologist who surveys the effects of psilocybin–the active chemical in “magic” mushrooms–has used science to curate a Spotify playlist that accompanies users through psychedelic trip-ups.

Online magazine Inverse explained that Bill Richards works at a laboratory at Johns Hopkins University where researchers are looking into whether the medication helps cancer patients feel less depressed or anxious, helps smokers quit smoking, or causes “mystical experiences” in healthy people.

Richards curated the playlist to help participants in the study feel safe during the course of its drug-induced conferences.

“I construct the best musical selections I can, trying to divide the’ very good’ and the’ excellent’ on the basis of years of experience with many different people, ” Richards said. “There’s only room for so much music in a six- to seven-hour period of time.”

His selections are mostly orchestral songs–including Brahms, Vivaldi, Mozart, and Bach–which he said allow for patients to return to normal thinking patterns while they’re stumble.

“Except in the final phase, I tend to avoid music with terms in the language of the volunteer, so as to discourage the rational mind from following the content of the words, ” Richards said.

Regarded as the safest recreational drug available, psilocybin can cause users to experience euphoria, hallucinations, distorted senses of time and changes in perception. Richards organized his playlist to help the person navigate through “onset, peak and post-peak phases” of the drug’s consequences.

“In high-dose conferences, I feel that it is the structure of the music itself that matters most rather than the personal preferences of the volunteer or the guidebook, ” he said.

As the narcotic wears off and participants re-enter reality, the playlist ends with “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong.

Far out, man.

H/ T Inverse

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This Guy Makes His Dinners From Plants Determined In Public Parks

When “Wildman” Steve Brill hankers for a fresh snack, he doesn’t go to Whole Foods. Instead, he heads to one of New York City’s public parks and picks a feast of edible plants straight from the ground.

Brill, 67, has led foraging tours in and around the Big Apple for over 30 years, presenting students, tourists and dirt-shy locals how to collect wild edibles that grow in the green spaces dotting the city’s concrete grid.

Foraging allows Brill, a passionate cook, to whip up healthy meals without buying as much from supermarkets as the average person would. I joined him on one of his tours, where I sampled a variety of foraged herbs and even feed a lunch of wild foods Brill had prepared.( My colleagues were horrified when I told them. But the food tasted great to me .)

While it’s not ideal for many people for a variety of reasons, the practice of foraging allows Brill to enjoy delectable foods while reducing his contribution to a global food system that experts say is wasteful and inefficient.

“I can make almost anything from decadent-tasting truffles with melted baker’s chocolate seasoned with wild coffee from Central Park, to ice creams, ” Brill, who hails from Kew Gardens, Queens, told The Huffington Post.

Foraging generally isn’t allowed in New York City’s parks. But park rangers tolerate Brill, and the Parks Department even hired him to give foraging tours for a few years in the 1980 s. Collecting wild plants is perfectly safe, provided you know what you’re go looking for, Brill told, adding that novice foragers should rely on experts or guide books to help correctly identify edible species.( Brill told no one has ever gets sick from one of his foraging tours .)

Some plants can be difficult to identify, however, and eating the wrong item could be harmful. Plus, wild plants can soak up toxins from urban soil, and an expert we spoke to recommended against foraging for certain edibles. The New York City Health Department tells foragers should always check for signs about pesticide use, rinse find plants exhaustively and avoid feeing foraged edibles more than a few times a week.

Casey Williams Brill depicts off the foraged Oysters Newberg( no oysters, merely mushrooms) we feed for lunch.

When I met up with Brill for an afternoon foraging tour of Central Park, he was sporting a pith helmet, silver beard and lots of khaki, as if he’d lately returned from investigating the Amazon.

We spent an hour winding through the park, hunting for edibles. Every few yards, Brill pointed out another tasty foliage or berry, whipping out his iPad to show the tour group drawings he’d made of the items at different stages in their lifecycle. In simply one corner of the park, he led us to nearly a dozen different edible plants: poor man’s pepper, black cherries, pokeweed, blackberries, garlic mustard, common plantain, purslane and wood sorrel.

We sampled all of them. And while some basically savor like grass( I’m looking at you, common plantain ), others were delicious. Black cherry, tart but sugary, was like a satisfying cough drop. Wood sorrel reminded me of lemonade. And poor man’s pepper, well, it savor like pepper.

At one point, the working group passed a thick thorn shrub. Person asked Brill if she could eat it. “You can eat anything once, ” he replied.

Brill prides himself not just on his foraging skills, but also on his ability to make tasty, innovative snacks from foraged foods. When the working group paused for lunch, Brill brought forward several dishes all original creations prepared use local plants and fungis. In the shade of a broad oak tree, we tucked into Oysters Newberg, made from detected oyster mushrooms; chocolate truffles topped with wild Kentucky coffee, a java taste-alike from Central Park; and a fantastic pesto, made from foraged garlic mustard, that was served with common plantain chips.

On the whole, the food was fresh, raw and deep fulfilling, despite being almost entirely free of the fats and petroleums I’m used to. Biting into a savory oyster mushroom, I encountered no grit , no grime , no flecks of dust simply a mouthful of rich, almost creamy flesh. The Kentucky coffee reminded me of chicory, bringing out darknes, earthy notes in the chocolate. The chips and pesto, both more fibrous than I’m used to, put my jaw to run, but the novel combination of sweetness and spice was well worth the effort.

If I ever go foraging by myself, I’ll do it cautiously. Picking wild mushrooms, for instance, can be risky, research shows. Even experienced foragers have been known to mistake poison fungi for edible lookalikes. New York City’s Health Department advises foragers to be especially careful when picking mushrooms.

“If you cannot definitely identify a mushroom, do not eat it, ” Jeremy House, a spokesman for the department, told HuffPost.

Plucking plants from some patches of urban soil can also expose foragers to toxins such as leading, according to Dan Brabander, environmental geochemistry prof at Wellesley College.

“If your target was, tell, mint or the other wild herb, tell, mustard, that has a great deal of surface area and is in close proximity to the soil, ” Brabander told HuffPost via email, then clay can “end up[ on] the surfaces of the leaves, bringing metals with it.”

Soil varies so much from place to place, Brabander added, that it’s impossible to construct general recommendations about the safety of foraging for herbs. But Brabander said he “could never recommend foraging for mustards in the urban environment.”

Casey Williams Black cherries in Central Park.

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Human arrested at Bonnaroo with thousands of fake medications

( CNN) A man’s divine calling has landed him in jail after he was caught trying to sell thousands of fake drugs at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee, law officers said.

According to an arrest warrant from the Coffee County Sheriff’s Office, David E. Brady told policemen “he was doing God’s work, ” when they found 1,000 fake hittings of acid, 20 suitcases “made to look like cocaine, ” 37 pills that were made to look like molly, 22 bags of fake mushrooms and an incense stick made to look like black tar heroin.

Brady, 45, was sitting in a tent Wednesday when he was approached by Coffee County deputies after one of them ensure him with what appeared to be drugs, the warrant says.

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Having A ‘Bad Trip’ On Shrooms Actually lmproves Your Well-Being, Study Says

If youve ever had the opportunity to experiencePsilocybin-containing mushrooms( AKA shrooms ), you probably considered the consequences of possibly having a bad trip before you took them.

I personally have never done shrooms. Ive heard theyre fun, but risky. The idea of altering my reality while on shrooms doesnt sit well with me.

But according to new research, theres a silver lining to experiencing a bad trip.

Based on a survey of1, 993 adults, 34 percentage of participants reported that their bad trip was one of the most meaningful experiences of “peoples lives”. Thirty-one percent said it was one of their most spiritually meaningful experiences.

Researchers at John Hopkins University asked the participants specifically about their bad experiences with shrooms. More than nine out of 10 of the participants involved had ingested psilocybin more than twice.

A bad trip isnt something you can forget easily. Sixty-two percent of the participants said their bad trip was one of their top 10 mostpsychologically difficult situationsever.

But why would people come away from a bad trip with positive feelings?

A whopping 76 percentage reported that they came away from their bad experiences on shrooms with a better sense of personal well-being and overall satisfaction. Surprisingly, 46 percentage said theyd do the bad trip all over again if they could.

Am I missing out on something by choosing not to do shrooms?

Well , not all the results from the survey are this positive.

Eleven percent of participants reported that their bad trips put either themselves or other people at the risk of physical damage, and 3 percent said they attempted medical help after the trip. So, yeah: The risks are very much still there.

If youve been thinking about trying shrooms, keep in mind that people came away feeling positive about having bad trips when they were in surroundings with social support.

Also, people who had shorter bad trips had better experiences as compared to those who had prolonged ones.

Honestly, you cant actually controlsome of these factors.

As for me? Im going to stick to alcohol as my drug of choice.

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The best TV episodes of 2017, from The Deuce to Line of Duty

Our critics pick their favourite moments from the years best television from the innovation of Mr Robot and Girls to the excesses of Twin Peaks: The Return


Twin Peaks: The Return- episode eight

Its functional title is just about the only thing that wasn’t wildly ambitious about episode eight, an hour of television that bashed joyfully away at the limitations of the medium. Shot largely in black and white, it presented a harrowing, abstract creation myth for the show’s resident evil Bob, who- we learned– was bear out of the fire and ferocity of a nuclear explosion( shoot in languorous slow-motion by David Lynch ). It also fully introduced perhaps Lynch’s most terrifying creation, the soot-coated, skull-crushing Woodsmen, with their chill, mystifying refrain of” this is the water, this is the well “. It was very much “just go with it” Tv, a sometimes bewildering, always captivating, sensory experience that stuck with the viewer long after the credits rolled. We’ve seen nothing like it before, and we may not see anything like it again .

Tick, tick … boom! David Lynch Photograph: Showtime


The Deuce- Why Me ?

This was a drama that was slow, thoughtful and rich. David Simon’s study of the birth of the porn industry had great performances( Maggie Gylenhaal as the prostitute Candy, Gary Carr as canny pimp CC) and built nuanced relations between characters. But as fans of the Wire would expect, this show was really concerned with power and this was the episode in which it all came into focus. In summary, through the usual application of power, corruption and lies, the mob manage to both loosen profanity laws and open up a series of brothels. This has the effect of taking prostitutes off the street and driving their clientele into sexuality shops. For the women who refuse to take their business indoors, there are horrific consequences.


Game of Thrones- The Dragon and the Wolf

Nobody can pretend that Game of Thrones is the same show it was when it started. The labyrinthine plotting and expectation-defying spins of the early years have now been traded in for slick, pared-down sight. But when it chooses to deliver, boy, can it still deliver. Just look at The Dragon and The Wolf, this year’s spectacular series finale. At last, we got a summit between several big hitters who had never before shared a scene. At last, John Snow’s parentage was confirmed. And, at last, a giant zombie dragon blew up The Wall, letting the White Walkers to ultimately blaze the trail of demolition they’d been teasing since the first scene of the first episode. All immensely fulfilling. The final series can’t come quickly enough .


Girls- American Bitch

The final season of Girls ultimate shuffled off the Peak TV landscape with a bit of whimper. All the voice-of-a-generation hype felt a little bit deflated as Lena Dunham finished the show in a sombre and- whispering it- grownup way. The episode that garnered the most column inches was the final season’s fourth. It starred Matthew Rhys of The Americans as a respected novelist who invites Hannah to his home before making a sexual advance. Released months before Louis CK admitted to sexual harassment, many speculated that this was about a similar figure who tried to take advantage of Dunham earlier in her career. Claustrophobic, awkward and brilliantly acted- it was a standalone episode about the perils facing young women in an industry dominated by humen .

Salim( Omid Abtahi) and a Jinn in human sort( played by Mousa Kraish) in a scene from episode three of American Gods Photograph: Starz


American Gods- episode three

American Gods lost its way in the end, the story never taking off, the whole thing ending in an Easter parade( literally ). But along the way there were moments of real dramatic fearlessnes and none more so than the encounter between Salim and the Jinn. Salim is a travelling salesman, an emigre from Oman stranded in the snow of New York. Abruptly a taxi seems and Salim get in. The driver, too, is from the Gulf, and it’s only when he removes his sunglasses to expose flames licking his eye sockets that Salim realises he’s in unusual circumstances. We watch Salim for a moment and we find the quiet heat of desire, and before long the pair have relocated to a hotel room where they have sex that is both passionate and affectionate. It’s also an act that literally transcends to a higher aircraft; the Jinn transports Salim to a desert somewhere in the heavens. That the sexuality was between two men( OK, a man and a deity) get people talking; mainly hoping that this tender encounter might in future attain lesbian sex a lower level of taboo on TV .


Line of Duty- episode three

From the start, Line of Duty has always taken a Game of Thrones approach to its main characters: attaining it clear that nobody is safe in its vicious cat-and-mouse game of corruption. Nevertheless, showrunner Jed Mercurio maintained his ability to shock by putting our beloved Steve Arnott in the line of flame. After Steve closed in on Roz’s multiple deceits and went after her husband, the mysterious Balaclava Man dealt with the problem by lobbing Steve down the stairs. Naturally, it all tied into a much bigger painting, and half of the fun of it was simply trying to keep up .

Big Little Lies Photograph: HBO


Big Little Lies- Finale

The beginning of the end of Big Little Lies, is a nauseating one. Perry’s most violent attack yet leaves Celeste( Nicole Kidman) curled up and violated on the floor. The finale ends with her and another dames of Monterey happily strolling on the beach, albeit being watched.( By whom? Who knows? A pointer perhaps, to more ?). In between the two? The big disclose … well, first the smaller of the big exposes: the school bully is Perry’s and Celeste’s son, violence begets violence. And then, after the Trivia Night( a fabulous scene that condenses the world of BLL into one event) and a couple of red herring, the big big reveal. The person killed is … Perry. Thank God, anything else would have been incorrect. The murderer( Bonnie) is more surprising, though truly they all did it. It’s perfect, poetic justice served, a brilliant finale to a brilliant prove. It started as soapy fun, but was soon scratching raw with a pumice stone .


Master of None- Thanksgiving

There were plenty of standout episodes in the second season of Aziz Ansari’s dexterous comedy, from the seamless stream of dating app dates to its unwavering devotion to pasta. But none were as funny and devastatingly poignant as Thanksgiving, written by Ansari’s co-star Lena Waithe, and based on her own experience of coming out to herself and to their own families over the course of years’ worth of vacation dinners. It was nostalgic without being trite, moving without being over the top, and brilliantly, incisively honest. It deservedly won Waithe a penning Emmy, and the platform for a beautiful speech:” Thank you for embracing a little Indian boy from South Carolina and a fag black daughter from the heart of Chicago ,” she said .


The Leftovers- finale

The Leftovers concluded by attaining two things you would have never believed possible if you’d watched its catastrophic bummer of a first series. The first was a happy ending, which is remarkable when you consider that it was a pitch-black meditation on the agony of loss. By stripping away everything but the histories of Kevin and Nora, the reveal permitted a beautiful humanity to seep into the margins. It was funny, tender. It was moving. It was everything you’d want. The second, miraculously, was an explanation. Throughout the duration of the present , no answers to the sudden departure were ever offered( the theme tune was literally a sung called Let The Mystery Be ). But then, right there in the final scene, all was uncovered. Or was it? Nora’s description could have all been bullshit. We’ll never know. It’s all up for interpreting. What a demonstrate. What an ending .


Bojack Horseman- Time’s Arrow

Already one of the darkest comedies around, Netflix’s animated sitcom dug deeper into its characters’ baked-in trauma in its fourth season. Its highlight was the dizzyingly inventive Time’s Arrow, defined almost entirely in the mind of Bojack’s Alzheimer’s disease-sufferer mother Beatrice, as she is abandoned by her son in a decaying nursing home. Through fragmented flashbacks we learn about Beatrice’s upbringing- the brutality of her aristocrat parent, her unhappy marriage to a Kerouac-lite author- and finally glimpse humanity in a character who had previously been portrayed, by her son at least, as a monster .

Curb Your Enthusiasm: Bryan Cranston and Larry David. Photo: John P. Johnson/ HBO


Curb Your Enthusiasm- Surely, Templeton

Larry David’s return didn’t please everyone. For some it was too self-referential and wantonly stupid. In this episode both traits come outwith Bryan Cranston- a former guest starring on Seinfeld- installed as an easily offended psychiatrist with a penchant for truffles, and Larry managing to offend at yet another funeral .


Rick and Morty- The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy

Put-upon patriarch Jerry get his chance to exact revenge against Rick by luring him to his death on an intergalactic theme-park ride. After three seasons of having his marriage slowly deflated by Rick, Jerry eventually has the chance to do anything about it and deal with his fantasy of having a vagina .


Mindhunter- The Lives Of Others

Mindhunter’s best moments arrived , not when interrogating detached, somewhat farcical serial murderers, but instead when delving into the lives of the people charged with understanding and stopping them. In episode six, the action centres around a example of a murdered woman in Pennsylvania but comes to life when we get an insight into the guarded Dr Carr’s life away from police work .


Blue Planet II- Coasts

Blue Planet II’s riches mean it’s hard to single out merely one episode for special mention. But the sea lion’s corralling of tuna into shallow pools with no exit other than beaching themselves showed the intelligence and guile of the predator, and the patience and commitment of the show’s filming crew, who camped out for weeks to get the perfect sequence .

Too cool for school: Eleven Photograph: Netflix


Stranger Things- The Lost Sister

Borrowing heavily from the John Carpenter back catalogue, The Mind Flayer saw Eleven head to the big city where she meets up with Eight and the rest of her heist gang. A world away from the high-school politics of Hawkins, it allowed her to get some new clothes, exam her powers and ultimately return as a hero- again .


Handmaid’s Tale- episode three

During the Emmy-winning show’s most shocking episode, we witness how savage Gilead is. We see how” gender traitors” be addressed, flashbacks reveal how quickly attitudes towards females shifted and Offred has to come to terms with the hopeless reality of her new “half-life” .


The Vietnam War- Things Fall Apart

Focusing on some of the darkest days of the Vietnam conflict( January-June 1968 ), this episode assured America plunged deeper into the war with the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong gaining ground, and President Johnson’s position becoming untenable. A frantic 55 minutes captured a turning point, both in the Vietnam war and US identity .


Taboo- episode four

A ridiculously over-the-top outing for James Delaney at the back end of January centred round a debauched house party- featuring magic tricks, nitrous oxide and fancy dress. Tom Hardy’s nefarious Delaney continued to battle the East India Company and the Americans, while also squeezing in a bit of class politics .


Transparent- When Do We Ride Into Jerusalem ?

Episodes where characters go on pilgrimages usually stick in the memory- The Sopranos outing to Italy allowed us to see Paulie try to negotiate Neapolitan small talk, for example. Likewise, the Pfeffermans’ jaunt to Israel( most of the episode was actually filmed in LA) and discovery of Maura’s biological father, Moshe, a verbose Israeli businessman played by Jerry Adler, helped Jill Soloway change gears. The family’s own internal squabbling are put on hold as their believes on gender, their own family history and the Israel-Palestine conflict are challenged .

Changing rooms: Kyle MacLachlan and Sheryl Lee Photograph: Suzanne Tenner/ Showtime


Twin Peaks- finale

After the boredom and grandeur of the previous 17 episodes, Lynch signed off the return with another finale that left fans with a mix of persisting doubt, satisfaction and a desire to know more. The penultimate episode tied a lot of the storylines into neat( ish) bows, while the final bow took a blowtorch to those grand designs and left questions about everything the indicate has in the past established .


Broken- episode one

The first episode of Jimmy McGovern’s meditation on modern Britain and the results of complacency started with Anna Friel’s unceremonious firing from her chore at a bookies. That jolt continued to echo through the series that was one of the tightly constructed displays made this year .


Legion- episode six

Meta without being boring, showy without being smug- Noah Hawley’s Legion managed to encapsulate the best of the superhero genre and leave out the worst. In the sixth episode we venture inside David Haller’s head as a manifestation of his friend Lenny Busker( Aubrey Plaza) plays a plucky psychiatrist who tries to make sense of Haller’s” memory palace “. Dark, twisted and very funny .

Eyes Wide Shut: Broad City Photograph: Comedy Central


Broad City- Mushrooms

Broad City has faced a backlash this season. Too smug, too self-regarding, a little too knowingly “woke”, but this animated journey into a day while high on mushrooms watched the prove do something genuinely innovative and new. Funny, ridiculous and wantonly daft- it was an easy-to-love high note in an otherwise lukewarm operate .


The Walking Dead- Some Guy

Convincing people that a juggernaut of a show that has stalled is still worth watching takes something special. Some Guy- the second instalment of The Walking Dead’s current season- was merely that. A crash-bang-wallop of an episode that shocked the show back into action and saw the end of another beloved character .


Mr Robot- Taking The Long Way Around

Is the one-shot the kind of gimmick that exposes a director as lacking real substance? Perhaps. Sam Esmail’s entry into the “oner” pantheon certainly riled some critics. Slate’s Willa Paskin said the technique felt like” empty posturing that twists a tale into more and more unnecessarily complex knots“, but for our fund it was one of the showrunner’s smartest moments- and one that kickstarted a somewhat plodding third outing .

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21 Honest Marriage Vows That Couples Should Actually Make

“For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health.” We’ve heard those words time and time again.

Though traditional marriage pledges have served couples well for many years, they don’t always capture what it genuinely takes to make a modern marriage work. We asked HuffPost readers to tell us what realistic vows they would add to spruce up the old standby. Their replies did not disappoint 😛 TAGEND

1. “I vow to always move your shoes out of the middle of the floor , no matter how many times a day your feet decide to leave them there.” — Lyle S .

2. “I promise to never, ever hide mushrooms in anything. Ever.” — Kyleigh K .

3. “I promise not to spoil ‘Walking Dead’ or ‘Game of Thrones’ for you — unless you severely piss me off.” — Bernice G .

4. “I vow to grab your butt every day we’re together forever and ever.” — David J.

5. “I promise to always listen, even when you ramble.” — Christina C .

6. “Do you promise to not leave just one swallow of tea in the pitcher in the refrigerator, and do you promise to empty one carton of milk before you open another one? ” — Robin T .

7. “I promise not to feed your candy hoard, even if I do feel like you’re taking route too long to bust into it.” — Amelia S .

8. “Do you promise to always let me be the shoe in Monopoly, and never stick me with the thimble when we play with friends? ” — Chris B .

9. “Do you promise to not fall asleep when I pick the movie on Netflix? ” – Daggermouth R .

10. “I promise not to tell you the ending of a movie I haven’t find yet or the conclusion of a volume that I’m currently reading.” — Debra Lynn B .

11. “I promise to always give you the least burnt pieces of bacon when I attain bacon.” — Felicia E.

12. “I promise to keep the fights clean and the sexuality dirty.” — Emily G .

13. “I promise to align my dishwasher loading technique with yours.” — Deb K .

14. “I vow to always let the driver pick the road. We read somewhere that there’s always six ways to get anywhere, so why battle about it? ” — Jody B .

15. “Do you promise to always try a new restaurant with me and never without me? ” — Sourma K .

16. “I promise to always pee with the door closeds to keep the mystery alive.” — Katie S.

17. “I promise not to talk over you especially when I know you’re right.” – Cee Cee

18. “I promise to stop answering your is the issue of ‘Where should we go feed? ‘ with the question of ‘I don’t know, where do you want to go eat? ‘” — Sarah B .

19. “I promise not to look at you like, ‘I’m surprised you don’t already know this.'” — Terri H .

20. “I vow to make sure we aren’t merely hangry before yelling at each other.” — Kristin Y.

21. “I promise to always have the house stocked with bacon and toilet paper! ” — Brittany S .

Hedger Humor
If marriage pledges were honest …

** Note: Some responses have been edited in the interests of clarity.

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Michigan DNR: Morel mushrooms spotted in southern Michigan – WSBT-TV


Michigan DNR: Morel mushrooms spotted in southern Michigan
Reports are coming in: Morel mushrooms have been spotted in southern Michigan and are working their way north. Need help finding those elusive gourmet morsels? They often pop up the year after a large prescribed fire, which the DNR uses to improve …
Morel mushrooms spotted in southern MichiganWNDU-TV
Eight Course Dinner Celebrates Morel Mushrooms at Holly HotelOakland County 115 News
Morel hunting? Experts to educate community at free

all 4 news articles »

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Why being a vegetarian traveller is often so hard to swallow

German Spy Agency Says Regulation Of Social Media Firms May Be Necessary –

Avoiding meat and fish while travelling can be frustrating and sometimes impossible tells Shahnaz Habib, but it can also lead to all sorts of adventures and give you a unique insight into a destination

In India, where I grew up, I was never considered vegetarian enough. I do not eat fish or meat, but I do eat eggs, which meant outing myself as a non-vegetarian when someone asked if I am pure veg. After all, this is a country where states have passed laws banning beef. But in the US, I have met vegetarians who eat chicken. Vegetarians who have casually thrown the word flexitarian at me, as if it were a sprinkle of coriander. Vegetarians who are at pains to let you know they are not crazy, like, you know, vegans.

Over three decades of being vegetarian, I have learned the hard way that there is no universal definition of what a vegetarian is. And when you are travelling and eating, observing vegetarian sustenance is not just a matter of asking: Do you have anything vegetarian? Depending on where you are, Do you have anything vegetarian? has to be followed with an arsenal of inquiries, from Can you construct that without fish sauce? to Are the beans cooked in lard or oil?

Of course its cooked in lard, the waiter at a Mexican eatery in New York huffed proudly, our food is authentic.

In Turkey even the most innocuous appearing vegetable soup or rice dish contains invisible meat, in the form of chicken or lamb stock. One of my first meals in Istanbul was at a tiny kebab eatery on a instead rickety balcony overlooking the Bosphorus. Etsis yemek var mi?( Do you have any meatless food ?) I asked the waiter, trying not to be daunted by the smirks from the men drinking tea at the next table. The lentil soup was constructed with beef bouillon. The aubergine kebab had meat in between the vegetable pieces. It turned out that the only vegetarian thing the kitchen could stimulate was a potato salad, so I ordered that. My salad arrived 20 minutes after my husbands chicken kebab. An enormous heap of fries on a flatbread.

A bit chippy sometimes you say salad and the waiter hears fries. Photo: Michael Rosenfeld/ Getty Images

Luckily, I love potatoes. And almost every cuisine in the world knows how to fry potatoes. Also, fortunately for me, I eat cheese. Several years ago, in Slovenia, the waiter asked if I ate cheese. Yes, perhaps cheese on some vegetables? I asked, hopefully, with the assistance of my friend who was translating. After that long round of negotiations, the waiter brought me my main course: a block of cheese, carven artistically into the shape of a sheep, on a bed of lettuce.

I recollect the wave of hungry bitternes I felt at the sight of that cheese statue, but sitting on that grimy rooftop eatery in Istanbul, while my husband eat his kebab, watching the gulls fly over the Bosphorus, it felt silly to feel bad for myself because there was nothing other than potatoes to eat. Travelling as a vegetarian can have difficult moments if you are going to an authentic eatery you better bringing cookies to tide you over but it is still travel, an act of enormous privilege.

In fact, travelling as a vegetarian has offered a unique window into the places I have been to. I used to cringe every time I recollected the low opinion that Anthony Bourdain had of people like me: Vegetarians are the foe of everything good and decent in the human spirit, an affront to all I stand for, the pure pleasure of food, he declared in Kitchen Confidential. But a few years ago in Cambodia, after a series of increasingly befuddled the issues and answers, the waiter gave up and invited me into the kitchen. Perhaps he was being sarcastic? But I accepted with alacrity.

Wheres the beef? Chef Anthony Bourdain , no fan of vegetarian food, apparently. Photo: Heathcliff O’Malley/ Rex

In the smoky, dark kitchen with a half-naked chain-smoking chef, I built sure that no pulverized shrimp or fermented fish stimulated its route into my noodles. Reeking ingredients while miming fish movements and watching hand-pulled noodles get chopped on a concrete slab, I felt well-compensated for not having that increasingly ephemeral phenomenon an authentic meal.

In Turkey, the manager of a B& B in Cappadocia took pity on me after he saw me surviving on chunks of bread and resulted me home to his mother. While we watched Turkish reality television in a living room that was fashioned out of a volcanic stone cave, she cooked fluorescent green banana peppers, ripe ribbed tomatoes and gleaming aubergine.

Having a kitchen at hand makes all the difference when you are a vegetarian who likes to travel. Some of the most memorable dinners I ate were in France but they were not fancy restaurant dinners. I was at a writing residency in a mountain village in the south where there were no shops and certainly no restaurants. A farmer who lived on the other side of the mountain would visit the village twice a week to sell veggies and eggs. They were astonishingly delicious veggies and all they needed was salt and pepper, a little butter or olive oil.

After it rained, all the villagers would disappear into the timbers acting nonchalantly. A charming neighbour decided that since I didnt eat meat, La France must disclose another side of herself to me. One morning he took me along after I vowed not to give away his cache. Together, we raced against other neighbours and foraged for dewy, newborn mushrooms. I felt as if I was in one of those life-or-death video games. It was worth all the drama when I ate my mushroom omelette at lunch. In France, the bastion of steak tartar and fattened bird liver, I learned to love veggies even more.

Oh, Lamour In France I learned to love veggies even more Photograph: Alamy

My love affair with veggies began early. I stopped eating meat at the age of eight, after considering my grandmother killing a hen in the ritual Muslim way. After the head was severed, I looked in horror at the still-alive bird body flailing around and decided never again. But over the years, that visceral horror has passed and feeing vegetarian has become still more of a habit rather than an ideology. After my doctor told me that I was B12 deficient, I even tried to eat some beef. I was revolted by its stringiness. The veggies had colonized my taste buds.

But of course there was New Orleans. My spouse and I waited for two hours before we could get into Jacques Imo, a eatery that was recommended by both a food novelist friend and our taxi driver from the airport. Yes, there was a vegetarian pasta on the menu but when my husbands oysters came to the table, there was something about them. My husband pried it out of its half-shell and offered it to me on his fork. I eat it. It was a gift. From him to me. And from me to an eight-year-old on the verge of noticing blood and bones.

And while it was delicious, it did not turn me into a carnivore. I want my carnivorous friends to eat all the meat they want to, especially in India where battle lines are being described over hamburgers and beef kheema. In New York, I go out of my way to Honest Chops, to buy organic, halal meat for my family. Yet, I am not even remotely tempted to eat any myself. And when we travelling, I am grateful for the escapades that emerge because I am a vegetarian.

To be hungry is to be curious. When you cant feed what is in front of you, you have to persuade people to feed you. You learn to explain your dilemma in multiple languages. You learn that in some cultures, fish is practically a vegetable and in others, mushrooms are halfway to flesh. You learn to go with the flow and you learn to see the world at slant. Most of all, you get to poke a tiny pit in the traveller stereotype of the macho explorer sitting down to eat raw bowels with the locals and genuinely, isnt that why we go places?

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On food stamps and poverty: I felt ashamed buying olive oil

We all have our own ways of dealing with the insecurity of poverty. For my father, food was a point of pride

I’d been dreading this moment, and cursed the person who’d designed food stamps. Why couldn’t they be green like real fund?

As my father opened his leather billfold and unfurled the purple and brown bills, I glanced up at the cashier. As I’d suspected, she was looking askance at our groceries: extra virgin olive oil, Kalamata olives, feta cheese, pine nuts.

I knew that seem, knew what she was thinking. I’d seen it a hundred times. She was thinking we didn’t deserve to buy fancy olive oil with food stamps. She was thinking she worked hard for her fund, and that she didn’t have that luxury.

My parents worked hard as small business ownersbut, like many rural Oregonians, we lived well below the poverty level. My dad had no qualms about accepting social services, but I detested it: waiting forever to talk to social workers who asked probing questions, the disgrace of turning in my free lunch ticket, the indignity of sitting in line for hours at dingy free clinics where the nurses stimulated me feel small and dirty.

We all have our own ways of dealing with the insecurity of poverty. For my father, food was a phase of pride. No matter how close the wolf got to our door, we ate well. Food stamps helped, but my dad was also thrifty. To make up for splurging on pine nuts, we ate quick marketing meat, government cheese, and tuna from dented cans. His resourcefulness paid off. We’d sit down together and eat chicken cacciatore and handmade pasta with garden salad with my mother’s special vinaigrette. He’d survey the table with an expression that seemed to say,” We may be poor, but we eat like kings .”

Dinner was the only period I felt rich. The next morning as I dressed for school in ill-fitting hand-me-downs and sneakers from Payless, I felt like a second-class citizen.

I went to school in Mapleton, a tiny mill town. In the morning, when mist ghosted the river, it could have been a scene postcard of idyllic smalltown life: the steeple, the moored skiffs, the clapboard homes, the lazy curve of water and sky.

But the facade was deceptive. We weren’t the only household feeling the pinch. In the early 1990 s, the Oregon logging industry was in freefall due to increased mechanization and changes in federal environmental policy. Logging chores evaporated and the mills shut down one by one. When I looked at my classmates, I insured the facade: all-American kids in name-brand jeans and basketball shoes. It didn’t occur to me that other parents were scrimping and prioritizing, buying the kids Nikes and putting off paying the phone bill.

That choice was a matter of pride. Just as my father attempted to protect us from food insecurity, my friends’ parents were protecting their children from social scrutiny.

Childhood poverty can be a powerful motivator for success, but everyone has a different takeaway. Mine was an intense dislike of scrutiny. My childhood dishonor wouldn’t propel me out of poverty, but it would make me avoid social services like the beset- even when it means that a trip-up to the grocery store attains my pulse race. Will my card encompass the bill? What should I put back on the shelf? After years of tallying the cost of each item I put in my cart, I’m very good at mental math.

I also inherited my father’s creative thriftiness and love for food. Six years ago, I wrote about foraging for wild nettles to compensate for an empty refrigerator. An editor from procured my blog and invited me to write a weekly column on low-budget cooking. I was overjoyed. I wrote about shopping, foraging in the mountains that surround my home, budget horticulture, and cooking from random ingredients. It was difficult to publicly admit that we were poor, but my love for writing trumped my usual shame.

Felisa Felisa Rogers wrote about foraging when she needed to add greens to her budget-restricted diet.
Photograph: Christian Sinibaldi for the Guardian

Naively, I failed to realize I was opening myself up to the very scrutiny I’d tried so hard to avoid. The commentaries segments at Salon are insane. Instead of feeling the evil eye from a cashier or the scrutiny of a social worker, a chorus of trolls questioned my every move.

Why didn’t I merely live on fortified cereal? Did I really think I should be buying real butter? Why did an intelligent person choose a life of poverty? Why didn’t we move to the city where the job opportunities were better? But the big, recurring question was: why wasn’t I on food stamps?

If readers thought that I was wasting my period horticulture and scouring the hillsides for chanterelle mushrooms, what would they think if they knew we often had( inexpensive) wine with dinner or that I once expended my last$ 6 on a hunk of parmesan cheese?

I considered ceasing the column. But when I listened to the news I realized that I actually had it better than the bulk of my low-income peers. Talk on the radio was about” welfare queens”, or a debate about whether a family with a refrigerator could truly call themselves poor. And it occurred to me that it doesn’t help to be silent about your experience: being low-income induces you fair game in “the member states national” debate about poverty and social services. Scrutiny of our groceries is part of “the member states national” conversation. At least writing “ve given me” the power to talk back.

This spring, Republican congressman Jason Chaffetz remarked,” Americans have choices, and they’ve got to make a selection. So rather than get that new iPhone that they just love and want to go expend hundreds of dollars on that, perhaps they should invest in their own healthcare .”

Listening, I thought about the olive oil, the Levi’s, the Nikes, the choices we low- and middle-income people build every day.

I don’t have a cellphone of any kind, but I’m not on a high horse about it. I choose to spend my fund on parmesan, a cheap laptop, and an internet bill- other people in my income bracket are prioritizing a smartphone that allows them to skip the internet and landline bill and gain the security of knowing they won’t be stranded when their automobile breaks down by the side of the road.

Mapleton, my hometown, looks less idyllic than it did when I was a kid. With the logging industry in deterioration for nearly 30 years, you assure visible signs of poverty- an empty storefront, peeling paint, a graduating class of three students. Oregonians now result the nation in use of food stamps, or the supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program( Snap ). Twenty percentage of the state is on assistance, topping notoriously low-income states like Mississippi.

My rural neighbors tell me that the organizations of the system has taken measures to mitigate the stigma of receiving assistance. Eligible people now get cards, which are less obvious than newspaper food stamps, and I hear that the ladies at our local office are friendly and helpful. So I consider it. But then I think,” Why now? I’ve attained it this far .” Like so many Americans, I’m optimistic that maybe this next paycheck will eventually allow me to scramble my style up into that elusive comfy income bracket.

Living in the land of opportunity isn’t easy when you’re not quite building it. When Americans flounder below the poverty level, it feels personal- it doesn’t always translate as a failing of the organizations of the system. People deserve the smaller dignity of owning a smartphone or buying a occurrence of Coca-Cola without being asked to explain themselves. We aren’t going to fix poverty by to consider the habits of the poor.

Felisa Rogers is a freelance writer living in Oregon

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