Ark of taste
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The obunnakannaka mushrooms are linked to places where there are termites, locally known as nnaka. Indeed they grow immediately after the harvest season for edible nnaka flying termites (ants), just a few days after the last harvest and it grows only in those areas where the termites were harvested.

The akannakannaka mushroom has two distinct parts: the stem that also carries the long root, and the head which is locally referred to as the ‘hat’.
The stem cannot be easily separated from the long root that originates from the same hole dug by the ants, since the spores are found deep underground through the openings created for ants to fly out. After the ants season, people closely look at the ground for the cracks created by the young growing mushrooms just before they come out of the ground.
The stem (omukonda) is purely white in colour and can move up to over five centimeters above the ground. This stem is delicately supporting the head, which is reddish in colour on the top and pure white at the bottom side, which is also divided into small subdivisions of delicate membranes. This mushroom has a very short lifespan once it reached its full maturity stage.
Bunnakannaka (in plural) are mostly found in light bushes, fallow land on the road and footpath sides as well as in banana plantations and on some rare cases in swamps and wetlands. During the season, some people go to these places early morning with the intention of finding and harvesting these mushrooms.

There are several culinary uses and techniques for these mushrooms including, but not limited to, steaming with bananas. For this use, the mushrooms are sundried, cleaned of any soil, wrapped in banana leaves and steamed together with bananas (matooke) or other common food stuffs like cassava and sweet potatoes. This technique is common in Bulemeezi and Singo counties of central Uganda where these mushrooms play a very important traditional role in society. These places are also the ones known as the Home for these mushrooms and the ants called nnaka.

In some places, people dry the bunnakannaka mushrooms and keep them in their houses with belief that the smell helps to protect the house and its members from bad spirits. In other parts of the country, the bunnakannaka mushrooms can be prepared into a soup when fresh or dried and cooked with groundnut paste in a technique called luwombo (wrapped in smoked banana leaves).

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Nominated by:Edward Mukiibi