Patsy is the name of a wild mushroom that usually grows in the decaying wood found in the shifting cultivation lands and paddy nurseries. The mushroom is small, almost conical in shape and dull white or gray in color. It has a distinct, almost peanut-like flavor and along with a typical earthy, umami taste. Patsy mushrooms are used in various dishes, often curries and soups. One favorite is a patsy soup cooked with tomato and bamboo shoots – only a small amount of the mushroom is needed to give a vibrant, earthy flavor. The mushrooms are also used cooked with meat and sesame. This product has a long and deep-rooted attachment to the land and its people in Nagaland, in northeastern India. Amongst the villagers, the patsy mushroom was picked by community members (in particular women) who would go into the forests during the monsoons to harvest them from the fallen wood trees and from their shifting cultivation lands. In the past, it was found in abundance and would be dried in the sun to increase its shelf life. It has typically been harvested for home consumption, with very little of the product sold in markets. Today, with changing patterns of land use in the last three decades, along with climate change, this particular mushroom variety is decreasing. Also the collection of dead wood and trees for use as firewood by local people is affecting the growth of patsy.
The traditional products, local breeds, and know-how collected by the Ark of Taste belong to the communities that have preserved them over time. They have been shared and described here thanks to the efforts of the network that that Slow Food has developed around the world, with the objective of preserving them and raising awareness. The text from these descriptions may be used, without modifications and citing the source, for non-commercial purposes in line with the Slow Food philosophy.