From Mother Russia with Love: Meaty Mushrooms and Relentless Lent

One of her greatest pleasures in summer was the very Russian sport of hodit’ po gribi (looking for mushrooms). Fried in butter and thickened with sour cream her delicious finds appeared regularly on the dinner table. Not that the gustatory moment mattered much. Her main delight was in the quest. ~~ Vladimir Nabokov, Speak, Memory…

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Mushrooms at Female & Fungi

I know, I said my last post was the last until after Christmas, but I wanted to share something with you this bright sunny day. Not long ago, some people who write the remarkable web site "Female & Fungi" contacted me about my book, Mushroom: A Global History. They wanted to know more about the…

Picturing the Last Weekend of Fall

Just outside my front door, ice sparkles on the small brown bridge. I know the signs: autumn fled like a thief in the night. Only yesterday, leaves blazing scarlet and saffron hung like Christmas baubles on the trees. Now there's nothing but a memory of those exquisite jewels. Time to burrow and savor the stews…

A New “Baby” in the House! Mushroom: A Global History, That Is

I just wanted to share with all of you an exciting moment: I just laid eyes on my new book - Mushroom: A Global History - and promptly burst into tears. I just couldn't keep a stiff upper lip when I saw the result of years of work on my part and on the part…

Mushrooms on My Mind, Naturally

It’s hard to imagine another form of earthly life that has affected human beings as much as the kingdom Fungi. Seeking the taste and perceived medicinal benefits of mushrooms,human beings followed a path from superstition to science: from foraging to farming, from medieval old wives’ tales to modern clinical trials, and from food eaten to…

Mushroom: A Global History – New book coming out

I am thrilled to announce that my new book about the culinary history of mushrooms is due out in September 2013. A sneak preview: Known as the meat of the vegetable world, mushrooms have their ardent supporters as well as their fierce detractors. Hobbits go crazy over them, while Diderot thought they should be “sent…

Cris de Paris: The Street Criers of Paris in Bygone Days

Mushrooms abound in the markets of France in October and early November. And since I found stalls bursting with all sorts of mushrooms, I began to wonder if there were any "street cries" or market songs or whatever you might wish  to call them peculiar to mushrooms. Associated with various métiers (or trades) dating back…

Anatomy Lesson: Rustic Mushroom Tart

"Nature alone is antique and the oldest art a mushroom." Thomas Carlyle [Note: This post forms part of the Picnic Game, sponsored by Louise over at Months of Edible Celebrations. For more recipes and the bloggers/sites that participated, see below!] Ah, mushrooms. Either you love them or you hate them. Maybe you act indifferently toward…

From Mother Russia with Love: Meaty Mushrooms and Relentless Lent

One of her greatest pleasures in summer was the very Russian sport of hodit’ po gribi (looking for mushrooms). Fried in butter and thickened with sour cream her delicious finds appeared regularly on the dinner table. Not that the gustatory moment mattered much. Her main delight was in the quest. ~~ Vladimir Nabokov, Speak, Memory…

THE FUNGUS AMONG US

Mushrooms are not really food, but are relished to bully the stomach into further eating. ~~Seneca, Stoic Roman Statesman Toadstools, devil's work, fairies' rings, mysterious, deadly, the deeply superstitious people of medieval Europe applied all these monikers to mushrooms. Fungi they are, botanically. Everyone's culinary favorite, they are not. Their names invite punsters to unite:…