At two o'clock this morning, I ran into an unexpected bounty, a giant puffball mushroom (Calvatia gigantea), while doing my regular walkabout at work:
The giant puffball is edible while it is immature and a uniform white color, when it ages it turns brown and emits a cloud of spores. The puffball is a boon to the beginning mushroom hunters because the large ones have no poisonous lookalikes... well, there's one, according to Wildman Steve Brill:
Caution: Beware the false giant puffball, a.k.a. the poison goalpost fungus, common in grassy fields throughout much of the Earth.
This mushroom is so deadly, merely inhaling the spores rearranges your brain's neural synapses, making you race endlessly back and forth across a field, stopping occasionally to jump up and down and cheer or curse insanely, never resting until death from exhaustion ensues. Poisoning is so virulent, relatives of the victim, especially the parents, have been known to succumb as well!
This particular puffball was as large as my cranium, and bore an uncanny resemblance:
Puffballs have a mild flavor, comparable to that of a typical white button mushroom. They go well sauteed in a little butter or olive oil. This particular beauty is large enough to act as the central component of three meals. Of course, I'm not the first guy on the puffball beat, but I'm happy to continue the proud puffball tradition.