Poisoning Myself with (Horse) Chestnuts
I guess I’ll be more cautious about foraging from now on. A few ago, I gathered these chestnuts from a downtown tree. They looked like the whole roasted chestnuts I had in China, they felt like chestnuts, a guy working on the house told me they were chestnuts. What else could they be? Their spiky shells were a bit foreboding: perhaps that was a sign.
Now weeks later, I just got around to roasting them tonight. I knifed “x’s” onto the shell and popped them in the oven at 400. When they came out, the flesh seems chalkier than I remembered. But I took a bite. And ick, was it bitter. Hmm, could there be a poisonous variety of chestnut, I thought? Sure enough: horse chestnuts were what I plucked. I hardly heard of them: just vaguely remember some homeopathic toner I bought with their bark listed as an ingredient. I washed my mouth out with soap and frantically dialed poison control. A kind nurse answered right away and put me at ease. I only ate enough to maybe hurt my stomach. I drank water and chased it down with Halloween candy, and so far, so good. But one things for sure: I’ll certainly be more cautious when foraging for mushrooms, or any other wild-crafted foods sometime. And now I’ve still got a hankering for chestnuts, real sweet American or European ones, that is.