Fun guys make trouble foraging fungi


Dear Amy: I have a group of three friends (we’re all male) with whom I enjoy one overnight each month at a cabin in the woods.

We take turns cooking.

Recently two of the guys made a spaghetti dinner for us.

The next morning they told us that they had included mushrooms in the sauce that they had found behind the woodpile.

I was horrified. I have a degree in biology and taught environmental science for over 30 years — neither of these guys has experience with mycology or taxonomy of fungi — nor could they even name the species of mushrooms that were used. When I expressed my dismay, they were defensive (“My wife said they were OK!”) and eventually turned to taunting.

At the next overnight I questioned what ingredients were included in the meal. Realizing the ridiculousness of this endeavor to be safe and wishing to avoid further ridicule, I began to bring my own food under the declaration that I prefer to eat later in the evening than they do.

Amy, they are still making jokes about it and have never shown any contrition, much less offered an apology.

Two questions: Was my reaction unfounded (I can’t imagine it was), and do you have a suggestion for resolving this through communication?

— Avoiding Amanita

Dear Avoiding: Your reaction was not unfounded, but your overreaction is.

Your friends made a potentially dangerous choice; as it turned out, everyone got lucky and no one got sick. You conveyed your educated and legitimate concern, and you know your friends heard you because they resorted to taunting you for taking your position.


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