Sticking to Japanese barbecue mainstays like sausages and yakisoba noodles would’ve been the smarter move.
Part of the fun of having a barbecue is that it’s a chance to reconnect with mankind’s simpler lifestyle of bygone eras. Cooking food over an open flame and eating it outdoors, surrounded by the splendor of nature, just like our ancestors did, imparts a special deliciousness that you can’t get at even the poshest restaurants.
But while there’s a definite appeal to getting in touch with your inner caveman, you don’t want to overdo it. For example, you’re probably best off taking advantage of society’s modern economic systems to procure your ingredients, instead of foraging in the wild like three men did last Sunday in Nagoya.
The three men, all in their 30s, were having a barbecue in Arakogawa Park, located in the city’s Minato Ward. At some point, they decided to pick, grill, and eat some mushrooms they found growing among the blades of grass in the park. Perhaps they did this because of Japan’s long culinary tradition of eating fungi such as shiitake and matsutake mushrooms. Maybe they did this because they had already eaten all the food they’d brought themselves, or they were still hungry but no one wanted to go to the hassle of making another run to the grocery store. Or maybe, as with so many other tales of barbecues gone wrong, they were very drunk.
While the reason for their decision to eat the mushrooms remains unclear, we do know its result: violent bowel movements and vomiting.
The species of mushroom the men picked is, in Japanese, oshirokarakasatake, for which the scientific name is Chlorophyllum molybdites. The Chlorophyllum molybdites is also called the false parasol mushroom because of its visual similarity to the Macrolepiota procera, or parasol mushroom, which can be eaten if properly prepared. The false parasol, though, is inedible no matter what you do to it, and its poison works so quickly that within an hour all three men showed symptoms of diarrhea and nausea.
▼ Chlorophyllum molybdites: they’re projectile poopin’ good! Oh, wait, that’s bad…
The trio was taken to a medical center and, three days later, all three men remain hospitalized, though thankfully their conditions are improving. Following the incident, the Nagoya city government has put up signs in the park warning hungry visitors about the poisonous mushrooms. However, this should serve as a reminder that unless you’re a trained expert, it’s never a good idea to go eating random fungi you’ve stumbled across, no matter how many hours you’ve logged playing cute mushroom girl smartphone games.
Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’s kind of sad to see we apparently live in a world where “Don’t eat random park mushroom” signs are necessary.