Thanks for the enthusiastic welcome! Shroomgirl: I think that large mushroom Bruhn discovered was actually an Armillaria colony (sort of like a nudist colony, leper colony, ant colony...).
Armillaria mellea as the name suggests is known commonly as the Honey mushroom. I have never eaten it, but I've heard that it is good. Have you done anything with it?
One thing I am quite interested in is mushroom poisonings. A few years ago, when I was living in BC, me and an ex-girlfriend (at that time new), her mother and two of her friends went on a hike up in this beautiful forest. We started off surrounded by large helmlock and cedar with devil's club in the understory then it slowly graduated to sub-alpine fir.
On the trek up, we came upon a profusion of yellow-orangish shelf fungi. I immediately recognized them as the distinctive Laetiporus sulphureus (aka the sulfur shelf, or chicken of the woods). I had recently procured a great mushroom cookbook from this girlfriend. So, I decided to make a recipe from it that highlighted L. sulfureus. I can't really remember, but I think they were skewered, grilled, covered in an orangey/ hazlenut glaze and served on couscous. Not normally my style, but why not. The mushrooms were a little tough. Definately not very chicken like, but over all it was a reasonable meal. Everybody ate a fair helping.
About 45 minutes later, one half of our brave party was violently ill. Thankfully her mother was not among that half. Needless to say, this did not bode well for my reputation as a mycologist, nor my relationship with Michelle.
I spent a bit of time, tail between my legs, researching this. I discovered that often times, mushroom poisonings are almost like an allergic reaction. This explains why some people were horribly ill and the rest of us were fine. This mushroom apparently will metabolize compounds found in some trees to produce a powerful emetic (puke, puke). I have heard of this allergic type reaction with morels too.
Has anyone experienced this sort of thing? That would be awful for a restaurant!! I guess that is why most restaurants stick to the tried and true things?!
p.s. sorry for the long and serious post!