Amanita muscaria, the red mushroom with white dots, is “the mushroom” in the the sense that Irene Adler is “the woman” to Sherlock Holmes. A. muscaria is the iconic mushroom. I wrote an article about the history of the edibility determination of A. muscaria in mushroom field guides and in the more general medical literature along with mychologist David Arora in Economic Botany some years ago. The mushroom is an inebriant if consumed raw, dried, or if sauteed, but the psychoative portion compounds are water soluble so a good par boiling renders the mushroom a delicious esculent. Representations of A. muscaria are found in the most unlikiely places. Here, in this photograph I took in Paris a few years ago we see a muscaria themed hookah. Beside being a truly wonderful esculent if thoroughly parboiled it often blooms where Boletus edulus (porcini, cepes) are also growing. When you see a patch of A. muscaria look around for porcini. If you don’ see any, then come back to that same spot after the next rain.