Spawn of Shiitake

I once bought my brother one of those grow-your-own-mushroom log kits for Christmas. Not just any rotten log–the fancy shiitake kind. It’s a hardwood log “injected with shiitake spawn” (aren’t you glad you don’t have that job?) and promises to deliver mushrooms  for 2 years after the initial fruiting and post a relaxation soak every 2 weeks.

Anyway, brother lives in Houston, and what climate is more appropriate for growing fungi than the bayou? Well, the durned thing wouldn’t sprout, so he called customer service. It went something like this…

Brother: “My mushroom log won’t fruit. I soaked it and followed the directions, but it’s been a couple of weeks.”

Mushroom Specialist: “Do you have it indoors or out?”

Brother: “Out.”

MS: “And it’s in the shade?

Brother: “Yes.”

MS: “Did you use non-chlorinated water for the soak?”

Brother: “Yes, just like the directions said.”

MS: “Hmmm. Well did you hit it with a hammer?”

Brother: “Should I hit it with a hammer?”

MS: “That’s what I would do.”

Brother: “To punish it or to spur it into action?”

MS: “Yep, give it a good crack, but no harder than you would your head.”

Needless to say, countless unborn shiitakes were sacrificed to the burn pile that year. Next time I’ll go for the Jumbo Jerky Works.

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