This afternoon we came across a bizarre sight in the yard.
I thought it looked like a partially-deflated volleyball, Eric's mom thought it resembled a skull, and Eric thought it was a huge puffball mushroom that would explode if we touched it.
He attempted to detonate it by poking with a big rod, and it turned out to be solid, with soft rubbery flesh.
He cut it open and we examined the inside, comparing it with notes and photos from this page.
We determined it was a Langermannia gigantea or Giant Puffball, immature and therefore still edible.
It weighed about five pounds and measured around 10-12 inches in diameter. Eric compared half of it with his head.
Eric's mother cut it up and sauteed it with butter, olive oil, onion, salt, pepper, lemon juice and thyme. We later added a mix of dried wild mushrooms (including porcini, morels and so on), lots of cream, shallots, scallions, white pepper, some vegetable buillon, water, and more thyme, then blended the whole situation until it was a nice chowdery consistency.
Eric served it with a piece of whole wheat ciabatta bread, toasted with olive oil and parmesan. Insanely delicious dinner.
So far, we are all still alive and well.