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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Remembering Outdoor Experiences on Father’s Day

Do you recall how you were introduced to nature and outdoor experiences as a child? For many of my generation, the first exploration of nature came as we walked through the wilds with father.

As the Father’s Day weekend approaches, I ask you to pause and recall your early experiences exploring the natural world. 

Please take a moment and visit the IPF web site to make a tax-deductible contribution through our secure 'Donate Now' service in memory of a loved one who introduced you to the natural world

My early experiences were in far southeast Iowa – lead into the woods by my dad and my uncles. As I recall, on a Saturday morning in the spring, after the snow melted and the woodland floor springs to life, my father would awaken me and announce “Get dressed, we’re heading out for some morels”.  

I anticipated these outings as they were among the very few times that Dad and I would be alone together. We packed a light snack, a thermos of milk and hopped in the old ’48 Pontiac. Dad behind the wheel and me in the front seat for a change, we headed either north to Geode State Park or west to Lacey Keosauqua State Park.  

We would begin our hikes off the trails, through the ravines and across the creeks where sunlight would dance on the waters. Dad always said if I should find dead elm trees and that I’d find mushrooms there - or - that I should look on the east and west slopes of a ditch or stream bank.

If we were lucky and our walk was at the right time in the spring, we would come home with more than just a pleasant memory. With a little know-how and a lot of luck, my dad often bagged the tastiest treat in the woods — morel mushrooms.

From my (four year old) point of view, I was a lousy mushroom spotter as walking in the woods was its own reward. The scent of early spring native flowers and apple blossoms filled the air and wildlife was plentiful. It is perfectly peaceful with the songbirds serenading us throughout our tramp.  As you can guess I rarely found a morel without the guidance of my father.

Tell Your Story! 
Take a moment and share an early experience with nature on the IPF Facebook page.  

Thank you!  

Fettuccine Alfredo with Morels


1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons Cognac
1 1/4 pounds fresh morels, rinsed, drained, and patted dry, or 1/4 pound dried, soaked, drained, and patted dry
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan plus, if desired, additional as an accompaniment


In a skillet melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over moderately low heat, add the cream, the Cognac, and salt and pepper to taste, and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the morels, simmer them, covered, for 10 minutes, and keep the mixture warm. In a kettle of boiling salted water cook the porcini fettuccine and the scallion fettuccine for 3 minutes, or until it is al dente. While the pasta is cooking, in a large deep skillet melt the remaining 6 tablespoons butter over low heat. Drain the pasta, add it to the large skillet, and toss it with the butter, lifting the strands. Add the morel mixture, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, and pepper to taste and toss the mixture well. (Alternatively, the 2 kinds of fettuccine may be cooked and sauced separately.) Serve the pasta on heated plates with the additional Parmesan.

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