So, funny story ... you're going to laugh. I know we did.
Jason mentioned his trip to the Hakaniemi Market last week during his Bachelor Weekend (incidentally, a show of hands from all who believe his "I wasn't expecting the burlesque show at ALL" story? ... yeah, me either). While he was there, he picked up some interesting mushrooms from a large stall in the square. He whipped up a delicious mushroom-asparagus sauté that night, which I was able to enjoy for lunch the day after I returned from California. This was Tuesday.
On Thursday, I spent the day with my new Finnish friend, a wonderful woman named Heini, who took me to some of Helsinki's underground (literally, in several cases) book stores. We had a lovely time, said good bye, and I headed home. Three steps into my return journey, I realized I needed to find a WC muy pronto (I know it's Spanish, shut up). I did make it in time, but let's just say it was the longest 4 blocks of my life.
This weekend, Jason was excited to take us to "our new market," so we trekked across the city on Saturday morning. Our #1 mission was to find more of those strange, delicious mushrooms. Finally, we found them, and expressed our joy to the saleswoman. As we helped ourselves to handfuls of the fleshy shrooms, she said, "You know that these are poisonous, right?"
Shroom Lady: "Yes, they're poisonous unless you cook them properly. Then they're perfectly fine."
Jason: "Oh. That's funny, I bought these same mushrooms last week from someone else. They didn't say anything about them being poisonous."
(Looks of panic from all three people working at the stall ... awkward shuffling)
SL: "Well, um, let me give you a pamphlet about how to cook them. I think I have one in English." (Gives us the pamphlet. The rest of the crew is still staring at us.)
J: "I even ate some of them raw to see how they tasted."
(Really wide eyes from the crew.)
At this point we're properly freaked out, so we politely take our leave and beeline for the internet. Hoping we don't drop dead on the way home.
Turns out that yes, these mushrooms are poisonous and illegal in almost all countries besides Finland. National regulations state they have to be sold along with a displayed warning and instruction pamphlet. Evidently, you're supposed to cut them in tiny pieces and boil them twice, throw out the water, avoid inhaling the steam ... none of which we did. Signs of poisoning include several uncomfortable symptoms including my urgent shuffle home earlier in the week, although many people eat these mushrooms for years and have no ill effects.
I won't give the name or link to any info here, so as not to worry our friends and family, but suffice to say, Jason and I spent plenty of time running through every horrible "what-if" scenario. Now we just joke about that one time we poisoned each other. The toxins stick around your system for 5-7 days, which officially puts us both out of the woods now. Can't wait to make them again (just kidding, Mom).
Other, happier highlights from the weekend include an impressive Samba Parade (Samba seems to be quite popular in Finland ... who knew?)
and a trip to Seurasaari—an open-air museum, where we walked through several Finnish farm homes and churches, preserved from the 18th to 20th Centuries.